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Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot
File:Some Like It Hot poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Billy Wilder
Produced by Billy Wilder
Screenplay by Billy Wilder
I. A. L. Diamond
Based on story by
Robert Thoeren
Michael Logan
Starring Marilyn Monroe
Tony Curtis
Jack Lemmon
George Raft
Joe E. Brown
Pat O'Brien
Music by Adolph Deutsch
Cinematography Charles Lang
Edited by Arthur P. Schmidt
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • March 29, 1959 (1959-03-29)
Running time
121 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2,883,848
Box office $40 million

Some Like It Hot is a 1959 American comedy film set in 1929, directed by Billy Wilder, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The film is about two musicians who dress in drag in order to escape from mafia gangsters whom they witnessed commit the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. The supporting cast includes George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Joan Shawlee and Nehemiah Persoff. The film was filmed in black and white, even though color films were increasing in popularity.


It is February 1929 in the city of Chicago. Joe is an irresponsible jazz saxophone player, gambler and ladies' man; his friend Jerry is a sensible jazz double-bass player. They accidentally witness the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. When the gangsters, led by "Spats" Colombo, spot them, the two run for their lives. Penniless and in a mad rush to get out of town, the two musicians take a job with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators, an all-female band headed to Miami. Disguised as women and renaming themselves Josephine and Daphne, they board a train with the band and their male manager, Bienstock. Before they board the train, Joe and Jerry notice Sugar Kane, the band's vocalist and ukulele player.

Joe and Jerry become enamored of Sugar and compete for her affection while maintaining their disguises. Sugar confides that she has sworn off male saxophone players, who have stolen her heart in the past and left her with "the fuzzy end of the lollipop". She has set her sights on finding a sweet, bespectacled millionaire in Florida. During the forbidden drinking and partying on the train, Josephine and Daphne become intimate friends with Sugar, and have to struggle to remember that they are supposed to be girls and cannot make a pass at her.

Once in Miami, Joe woos Sugar by assuming a second disguise as a millionaire named Junior, the heir to Shell Oil, while feigning disinterest in Sugar. An actual millionaire, the much-married aging mama's boy Osgood Fielding III, tries repeatedly to pick up Daphne, who rebuffs him. Osgood invites Daphne for a champagne supper on his yacht. Joe convinces Daphne to keep Osgood occupied onshore so that Junior can take Sugar to Osgood's yacht, passing it off as his. Once on the yacht, Junior explains to Sugar that, due to psychological trauma, he is impotent and frigid, but that he would marry anyone who could change that. Sugar tries to arouse some sexual response in Junior, and begins to succeed. Meanwhile, Daphne and Osgood dance the tango ("La Cumparsita") till dawn. When Joe and Jerry get back to the hotel, Jerry explains that Osgood has proposed marriage to Daphne and that he, as Daphne, has accepted, anticipating an instant divorce and huge cash settlement when his ruse is revealed. Joe convinces Jerry that he cannot actually marry Osgood.

The hotel hosts a conference for "Friends of Italian Opera", who are actually mobsters. Spats and his gang from Chicago recognize Joe and Jerry as the witnesses to the Valentine's Day murders. Joe and Jerry, fearing for their lives, realize they must quit the band and leave the hotel. Joe breaks Sugar's heart by telling her that he, Junior, has to marry a woman of his father's choosing and move to Venezuela. After several chases, Joe and Jerry witness additional mob killings, this time of Spats and his crew. Joe, dressed as Josephine, sees Sugar onstage singing that she will never love again. He kisses her before he leaves, and Sugar realizes that Joe is both Josephine and Junior.

Sugar runs from the stage at the end of her performance and is able to jump into the launch from Osgood's yacht just as it is leaving the dock with Joe, Jerry, and Osgood. Joe tells Sugar that he is not good enough for her, that she would be getting the "fuzzy end of the lollipop" yet again, but Sugar wants him anyway. Jerry, for his part, comes up with a list of reasons why he and Osgood cannot get married, ranging from a smoking habit to infertility. Osgood dismisses them all; he loves Daphne and is determined to go through with the marriage. Exasperated, Jerry removes his wig and shouts, "I'm a man!" Osgood simply responds, "Well, nobody's perfect."



Song[1] Performer(s) Note(s)
"Runnin' Wild" Marilyn Monroe
  • Played during the opening credits
  • Performed also a capella by Tony Curtis
"Liebesträume" -
  • Performed on the organ at Mozzarella's Funeral Parlour
"Sugar Blues" -
"Down Among the Sheltering Palms" -
"Randolph Street Rag" -
"I Wanna Be Loved by You" Marilyn Monroe
"Park Avenue Fantasy (Stairway to the Stars)" -
"I'm Thru with Love" Marilyn Monroe
"Sweet Georgia Brown" -
  • Played in the back room of the Funeral Parlour
"By the Beautiful Sea" -
"Some Like It Hot" -
"La Cumparsita" -
"Sweet Sue, Just You" -
  • In the score after "I Wanna Be Loved By You"
"For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" -
  • Sung by all at the gangsters' meeting
"Sugar Blues / Runnin' Wild" -



Billy Wilder wrote the script for the film Some Like it Hot. [2] The plot is based on a screenplay by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan from the French film Fanfares of Love.[3] However, the original script for Fanfares of Love was untraceable, so Walter Mirisch found a copy of the German remake Fanfaren der Liebe. He bought the rights to the script and Wilder worked with this to produce a new story.[3] Some Like It Hot is often seen as a remake of Fanfares of Love, as both films follow the story of two musicians in search of work. [2]

The studio hired Barbette, a famous female impersonator, to coach Lemmon and Curtis on gender illusion for the film.[3]

Marilyn Monroe worked for 10% of the gross in excess of $4 million, Tony Curtis for 5% of the gross over $2 million and Billy Wilder 17.5% of the first million after break-even and 20% thereafter.[4]


With regards to sound design, there is a ‘strong musical element,’ [2] in the film, with the soundtrack created by Adolph Deutsch. It has an authentic 1920s jazz feel using sharp, brassy strings to create tension in certain moments, for example whenever Spat's gangsters appear. In terms of cinematography and aethsetics, Billy Wilder chose to shoot the film in black and white as Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in full costume and make up looked ‘unnaceptably grotesque,’ in early colour tests. [2]


Tony Curtis was spotted by Billy Wilder while he was making the film Houdini (1953),[5] as he thought he would perfect for the role of Joe. "I was sure Tony was right for it" explained Wilder - "because he was quite handsome, and when he tells Marilyn that he is one of the Shell Oil family, she has to be able to believe it".[6]

According to York Film Notes, Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond didn't expect such a big star as Marilyn Monroe to take the part of Sugar [2] in fact, Wilder admits that "Mitzi Gaynor was who we had in mind. The word came that Marilyn wanted the part. and then we had to have Marilyn".[7]


Some Like it Hot received widespread critical acclaim. It was voted as the top film on AFI's "100 Years... 100 Laughs" poll in 2000.[8]

By 1962, the film had grossed $14 million in the US.[9]

Roger Ebert wrote about the movie, "Wilder's 1959 comedy is one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft." [10] New Yorker's John McCarten referred to the film as "a jolly, carefree enterprise". [11] The Guardian's Richard Roud claims that Wilder comes "close to perfection" with the film. [12]

Rotten Tomatoes reports a score of 96%, with an average score of 8.9 out of 10. [13]

Despite critical accolades, at the time of release it was one of the only American films to receive a "C" or Condemned rating by the Roman Catholic Church's Legion of Decency.[14]

Awards and nominations

Date of ceremony Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
August 23 - September 6, 1959[15] Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Some Like It Hot Nominated
December 1959[16][17] National Board of Review Awards Top Ten Films Some Like It Hot Won
February 6, 1960[18][19] Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film Billy Wilder Won
1960[20] British Academy Film Awards Best Film from any Source Some Like It Hot Nominated
Best Foreign Actor Jack Lemmon Won
March 10, 1960[21][22] Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Jack Lemmon Won
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Marilyn Monroe Won
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Some Like It Hot Won
April 4, 1960[23] Academy Awards Best Director Billy Wilder Nominated
Best Actor Jack Lemmon Nominated
Best Cinematography – Black-and-white Charles Lang, Jr. Nominated
Best Art Direction – Black-and-white Ted Haworth (Art Direction), Edward G. Boyle (Set Decoration) Nominated
Best Costume Design - Black and white Orry-Kelly Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Billy Wilder, I. A. L. Diamond Nominated
May 6, 1960[24][25] Writers Guild of America Awards Best Written Comedy Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond Won
September 28, 1960[26] Laurel Awards Top Female Comedy Performance Marilyn Monroe (2nd place) Won
Top Male Comedy Performance Jack Lemmon (2nd place) Won
Top Comedy Some Like It Hot (3rd place) Won
1960[26][27] Bambi Awards Best Actor - International Tony Curtis (2nd place) Nominated


An unsold television pilot was filmed by Mirisch Productions in 1961 featuring Vic Damone and Tina Louise. As a favor to the production company, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis agreed to film cameo appearances, returning as their original characters, Daphne and Josephine, at the beginning of the pilot. Their appearance sees them in a hospital where Jerry (Lemmon) is being treated for his impacted back tooth and Joe (Curtis) is the same O blood type.[28]

In 1972, a musical play based on the screenplay of the film, entitled Sugar, opened on Broadway, starring Elaine Joyce, Robert Morse, Tony Roberts and Cyril Ritchard, with book by Peter Stone, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and (all-new) music by Jule Styne. A 1991 production of this show in London featured Tommy Steele and retained the original title. In 2002, Tony Curtis performed in a stage production of the film. He portrayed the character originally played by Joe E. Brown.

See also


  1. ^ "There's No Business Like Show Business (1954): Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Rolston, Lorraine, Some like it Hot (York Film Notes). Longman; 1 edition, 2000 p.7-57
  3. ^ a b c Curtis, T. and Vieira, M. (2009). Some Like It Hot. London: Virgin Books, p.13
  4. ^ Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company The Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 170
  5. ^
  6. ^ Golenbock, Peter, American Prince: A Memoir, 2008, Publishing Group
  7. ^ Crowe, Cameron "Conversations with Wilder", Alfred A. Knopf (Reprint edition, 1999) p161
  8. ^
  9. ^ Madsen, Axel, Billy Wilder, Martin Secker & Warburg Limited, 1968
  10. ^
  11. ^ Mccarten, John (1959). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker. 
  12. ^ Roud, Richard (1967). "Review". The Guardian. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Phillips, Gene. Some Like it Wilder. University of Kentucky Press. p. 223.
  15. ^ "Venice Film Festival: Awards for 1959". IMDb. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Directors Guild of America, USA: Awards for 1960". IMDb. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  17. ^ "National Board of Review: 1959 Award Winners". Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  18. ^ "National Board of Review, USA: Awards for 1959". IMDb. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  19. ^ "12th Annual DGA Awards: Honoring Outstanding Directorial Achievement For 1959". Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  20. ^ "BAFTA Awards Search: 1960". Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  21. ^ "The Envelope: Past Winners Database - 1959 17th Golden Globe Awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  22. ^ "The 17th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1960)". Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  23. ^ "The 32nd Academy Awards - 1960: Winners & Nominees". Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Writers Guild of America, USA: Awards for 1960". IMDb. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  25. ^ "1960 Awards Winners". Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b "Laurel Awards: Awards for 1960". IMDb. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  27. ^ "The BAMBI award goes to…: A selection of international BAMBI award winners since 1948". Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  28. ^

Further reading

  • Curtis, Tony. The Making of Some Like It Hot, Wiley & Sons, Hoboken NJ, 2009. ISBN 978-0-470-53721-3.
  • Maslon, Laurence. Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion, New York, HarperCollins, 2009. ISBN 978-0-06-176123-2.

External links

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