950 Some Like It Hot

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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KJones77
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#26 Post by KJones77 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 11:33 pm

barryconvex wrote:
Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:38 pm
The film's reputation has baffled me for 20 years-at one point causing me to doubt my own opinion. Something along the lines of "What the hell am i missing?" or "I guess men in drag was funny then...i'll cut it some slack." or "Maybe if i get really high it will work better." "Nothing.", "Wrong!" and "Nope." were the correct replies as it turned out. "Comedy graveyard" is indeed the perfect description for this.
You're not alone.

Saw this for the first time over a year ago and just didn't connect with it at all. It was boring and ran its "lol look men in drag but everyone thinks they're actually women!" joke to the ground. I think I chuckled once, maybe twice and I love Wilder, Lemmon, Curtis, and Monroe. Just never got the hype.

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britcom68
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#27 Post by britcom68 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:38 am

I admit that I am a little biased when discussing Some Like it Hot. The now-retired pastor at the church I attended in my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for several decades is one of the few surviving cast members. She was cast as the second violinist, partially as she had been a trained violinist since childhood, including performing in a real-life all-girls band. Although she had no speaking lines in the film, she still fondly discusses her experiences filming. And after I visited San Diego myself and stayed at the Del Cornado Hotel, I can’t say I blame her. Of course, Pastor Kay was always quick to say that almost all of the scenes she was in which involved Monroe were when the band was performing, which seemed to be far easier on Monroe than the much-documented trouble she had with Wilder on the rest of the film. Before her retirement from the ministry, once a year she would host a talk in the nave or narthex of the church discussing her career in Hollywood as a studio musician and extra. She always would laugh at the fact that she was one of the few Lutheran ministers who can legitimately make claim she was banned in Kansas and censored in Memphis. Since the church she served at was part of the ELCA, there was never any hesitancy to try to gloss over the drag/camp aspect of the film when discussing with the congregation. Appropriately enough, the last acting role she had was in a promotional short for the church where she parodied “the Penguin” from The Blues Brothers (complete with a vintage 50s cop car loaned from the County Sheriff, who was also a fellow member of the congregation). Although I am disappointed that she was not asked to contribute any interviews, then again, neither was Nehemiah Persoff. Although Pastor Kay no longer regularly gives her discussions on her Hollywood days, she still to this day is a wonderful violin player and has made a tradition of always performing “Ava Maria” at the late-night candlelit Christmas Eve services. I have tried to see if any of her many past talks were ever uploaded to Youtube but appears not. I know that at least one was recorded on the church’s old VHS-tape camcorder but as the church is currently going thru a multi-million dollar renovation project, good luck finding anything there these days.

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domino harvey
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#28 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:36 am

That's a great story. Links like that to Hollywood's past are as good as gold. You should interview her yourself!

htom
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#29 Post by htom » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:19 am

BBC Culture - Why Some Like it Hot is the greatest comedy ever made

This essay accompanied an international critics' poll run by the BBC in 2017.

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Roscoe
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#30 Post by Roscoe » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:42 am

I'll cop to finding the opening scenes to be more than a bit of a chore, the gangster stuff is a real slog and even Wilder can't get blood out of the stone named George Raft. I like the Men As Women scenes a lot, for me it's the heart of the movie, watching these guys get the woman's view of the world for a change, and I'm always delighted by Lemmon's remark to Curtis in re: his playboy impersonation that "nobody talks like that!"

When it's good, it's very good indeed. But when it's not, well. I mean, come on. Naming a gangster Little Bonaparte? Is that the best that Wilder & Co. could come up with?

Werewolf by Night

Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#31 Post by Werewolf by Night » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:31 pm

It's already not a knee-slapper, and I know that explaining the joke doesn't make it any funnier, but it's a riff on Little Caesar. The movie, the main character (Rico) as played by Edward G. Robinson, and also because Napoleon was particularly obsessed with Julius Caesar. Feels like you guys are really reaching for things to dislike about this movie.

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domino harvey
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#32 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:34 pm

To garble the words of the great Bill McNeal: I stand still, the things to dislike reach out to me

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domino harvey
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#33 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:36 pm

Also, to stop pissing on the movie for one moment, did anyone notice that this will be the first time it will be offered at 1.85 instead of 1.66? No doubt we have you know who to thank for that...

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EddieLarkin
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 am

Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#34 Post by EddieLarkin » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:12 pm

To be fair, Criterion released it at 1.85:1 on their laserdisc long before Bob Furmanek came along with his damned historical research.

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Roscoe
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#35 Post by Roscoe » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:45 pm

Werewolf by Night wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:31 pm
It's already not a knee-slapper, and I know that explaining the joke doesn't make it any funnier, but it's a riff on Little Caesar. The movie, the main character (Rico) as played by Edward G. Robinson, and also because Napoleon was particularly obsessed with Julius Caesar. Feels like you guys are really reaching for things to dislike about this movie.
Yeah. I got the joke. I get it everytime I've seen the movie. I'll get it everytime I ever will see the movie. Has anyone anywhere ever not gotten that joke? It's just part of the "on the nose" quality of just a little bit of the movie -- like that big broad wink that one of the office girls delivers to the other one in the agent's office at the start of the movie, so big and broad and obvious that it's hard to believe the guys standing right there don't see it and realize something's up. Sure, it's a broad movie, subtlety isn't on the menu, but well, I just wish Wilder Etc. had tried a little harder to come up with something less, shall we say, fucking obvious.

Hardly a deal-breaker, movie-wise.

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movielocke
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#36 Post by movielocke » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:04 pm

One of the films that was a gateway drug for me. Really excited for this release.

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fiddlesticks
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#37 Post by fiddlesticks » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:04 pm

I wonder what it is about this movie that lends itself to such sharply divergent reactions. Nobody seems to be "meh" about it. As for me, this is one of those Great Classics of Cinema that I used to revisit every 5 years or so, hoping to find whatever it is that rates it so highly among (some of) the cognoscenti, and failing to find it each time. There's basically nothing about this film that I like.

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knives
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#38 Post by knives » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:20 pm

I'm meh. The final line is great, but otherwise it strikes me as not particularly funny in a way a lot of Wilder does.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#39 Post by Rayon Vert » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:44 pm

Kind of in the middle too. I enjoy the train scenes - the rest not so much.

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zedz
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#40 Post by zedz » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:34 pm

I'm wondering what the difference for people who first saw it on the big screen versus those who first saw it on TV or home video. I've only ever seen it in a cinema with a large crowd, and it's always worked extremely well with the audience and been really brisk and funny. Not my favourite film comedy by any stretch, and the gags are hit and miss, like most screwball and sub-screwball comedies, but there are enough hits to keep it buoyant throughout.

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Big Ben
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#41 Post by Big Ben » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:43 pm

Didn't realize it was so divisive until I got here. The reaction kind of reminds me of Singin' in the Rain. People either like it or think it's a pit. I saw it years ago and enjoyed it well enough.

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domino harvey
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#42 Post by domino harvey » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:51 pm

Who the hell doesn't like Singin' in the Rain and why would you listen to anything they have to say about movies?

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Big Ben
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#43 Post by Big Ben » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:09 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:51 pm
Who the hell doesn't like Singin' in the Rain and why would you listen to anything they have to say about movies?
I knew a man who had a rather intense and seething hatred of it others chimed in with similar feelings. My understanding at the time was that he believed it was far too saccharine and lacked anything of merit. While that isn't what I'd call my memories of this film the criticism strikes me as somewhat similar. Insofar that I thought from impressions I read about it stated that it was nearly universally beloved. Not so! Although the amount of hatred this man had for Singin' was cosmic and folks here are far more capable of refined criticism.

Speaking from what I remember about the film I recall it being remarkably restrained (Content wise) for what it was. Not sure how a film like this would go over in a remake. But then again my youth reveals itself and I confess this is the only Wilder film I've ever seen.

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Brian C
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#44 Post by Brian C » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:14 pm

I’m on the meh side with knives. I feel like there’s good material and some good moments, but like most Wilder comedies, the direction is graceless and the timing is constantly off and the whole is less than the sum of its parts. I can’t think of another director who so frequently stumbled over his own scripts.

Also I’m pretty sure I initially saw it theatrically.

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Feego
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#45 Post by Feego » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:16 pm

zedz wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:34 pm
I'm wondering what the difference for people who first saw it on the big screen versus those who first saw it on TV or home video. I've only ever seen it in a cinema with a large crowd, and it's always worked extremely well with the audience and been really brisk and funny. Not my favourite film comedy by any stretch, and the gags are hit and miss, like most screwball and sub-screwball comedies, but there are enough hits to keep it buoyant throughout.
I'm in a similar boat. For years, I did not understand why this was considered such a masterpiece or one of the funniest movies ever made. I didn't hate it, but it was far from a great classic. When I was in grad school, we watched it in a comedy film course, and it inspired nary a snicker from my class. Later the same year, I attended a screening of the film at the AFI Fest in Dallas, with actress Felicia Farr (Lemmon's widow) in attendance. Most of the audience was 60+, I was probably the second youngest person there (someone brought their grandchild), and everyone was totally receptive and appreciative of the film, laughing for the entire duration and just having a great time. This gave me a new appreciation for the movie, and while I still won't rank it among my absolute favorites, it holds a special place for me now and I actually do find it generally entertaining.

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fiddlesticks
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#46 Post by fiddlesticks » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:35 pm

I don't particularly like Singin' in the Rain, I do like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, and I don't know why anyone would listen to anything I have to say about movies.

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jbeall
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#47 Post by jbeall » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:42 pm

I'm looking forward to this release. Some of the comedy relies on cinematic references (e.g., when a low-level hoodlum is flipping a quarter up in the air, and George Raft snatches it out of the air and says, "Who taught you that cheap trick?", referencing his role in Hawks's Scarface), so I think it's not so much a belly-laughter comedy as much as a witty-reference comedy. But that's just me. Still, I enjoyed it a lot.

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Gregory
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#48 Post by Gregory » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:16 pm

I've gone back to this repeatedly, owning it on three different discs (thanks to box sets) hoping open-mindedly that I'd warm up to it, but there's just so much wrong with it. I'm willing to meet somewhat dated drag/burlesque comedy on its own terms but it has to actually be funny for anything to be forgiven. Wilder's take on the genre is the squarest, most straitlaced form of this to be celebrated to such a degree, as an example of this mode of comedy but as one of the greatest films of its era. Wilder safely places the action in a satirical black-and-white world, having said that putting it in color would have made it a "flaming faggot" film.
And there's something really clammy and unfunny to me about the way that for Lemmon and Curtis, inhabiting a drag character meant becoming their own mothers, with more than enough ham thrown in for good measure.
Wilder seemed overconfident of how funny his film would be and rarely allowed dialogue changes for what worked comedically (instead rewriting to accommodate Monroe's habitual failure to show up on time).
The much-celebrated final line was a notable exception to Wilder's control, where he allowed someone else (I.A.L. Diamond) to shape the film's dialogue because Wilder didn't know how to end the film himself. That line was what made the film cross into ambiguous, bold territory at the time, the rest no so much.

ynwa
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#49 Post by ynwa » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:58 pm

Gregory wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:16 pm
Wilder safely places the action in a satirical black-and-white world, having said that putting it in color would have made it a "flaming faggot" film.
Not true. The film was going to be in made in color but tests showed that Lemmon and Curtis looked awful when in their make-up and so the decision was made to film in black and white.

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Gregory
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Re: 950 Some Like It Hot

#50 Post by Gregory » Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:21 am

Sorry to disagree, but I think it is true. My source is Ed Sikov's biography of Wilder, p. 421. I wouldn't just make up a statement like that.
The reasons were about much more than makeup and screen tests. Your statement fails to account for the larger context of Wilder being one of a notable few in Hollywood resisting the trend of A-list features being in color by default. He shot The Seven Year Itch in color because Monroe's contract stipulated it.

And for better or worse, the 1920s setting of Some Like It Hot both took any stigma out of it being a drag comedy and sidestepped any challenging of established social boundaries in Joe and Jerry becoming Josephine and Daphne that the film otherwise might have had to confront audiences with. Not that transgression was the film's goal, quite the contrary, but it does seem to get some credit for that from critics and audiences today who like it as a film and are reading a presentist purpose into it that I don't think was Wilder's own. (E.g., Entertainment Weekly: "The film is also regarded by critics as ahead of its time for tackling issues of gender identity and sexuality behind the veil of comedic innuendo." Vague!)

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