For Reel

Some Like It Hot (1959)
June 19, 2016, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Billy Wilder
5 Stars
Some Like It HotRevisiting Some Like It Hot, one becomes very aware of how precariously balanced the film is—by any standards, the picture should have been an unmitigated disaster. It coasts between genres, does not distinguish between high and low comedy, and nearly every scene plays for a minute or two longer than one would typically expect (in the case of the famous seduction aboard the yacht, the scene feels a good five minutes too long). And yet so few films get the immediate so right. Watching Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe do their thing for two hours feels like a vacation not only because of the Hotel del Coronado, but because they are set free in a film that is structured so brilliantly that it has the feel of moving completely on a whim. A mob hit in a shady garage can seamlessly transition to a shockingly raunchy sex farce on an overnight train. Neither the actors nor the filmmakers take either scene as more valid or emotionally real than the other, and so they each play with their own complicated sense of stakes both within the moment and within the larger picture. Whereas many films feel burdened by their length, Some Like It Hot is so delightfully free and its characters drawn so well that one can’t wait for what comes next—look no further than the sheer exuberance in the cutaways to Lemmon and Joe E. Brown (in what becomes increasingly clear on repeated viewings is a brilliant supporting performance) dancing as Curtis and Monroe exchange their kisses. Together, they assemble a strange montage about the interplay between sex and capitalism.  Regardless of the differences in tone, the game of seduction is the same, and each edit only amplifies the emotional content of the complimentary scene.

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