Some Like It Hot

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Some Like It Hot is a 1959 comedy film directed by Billy Wilder.

The year is 1929 or thereabouts. Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are Chicago jazz musicians who become witnesses to the Valentine's Day Massacre. Unfortunately, being known to be a witness to a massacre is something the mob will kill people over, and Joe and Gerald have been spotted, so they need to get out of Chicago fast.

It so happens that an all-girl band which is leaving town has openings for a bass player and a tenor saxophonist. This does mean that Joe and Gerald will have to pretend to be women, but they consider this better than dying. They introduce themselves as Josephine and Daphne (Jerry prefers that to Geraldine).

The lead singer of the band is called Sugar, and she is beautiful (Marilyn Monroe!). She has a weakness for tenor saxophonists, which is why her current band is girls only (she thinks). She is attractive to the men, and they both have to remember that they're supposed to be girls.

The train ends up in Miami, where the band has a gig in a hotel. Sugar expresses the desire to be romanced by a millionaire, and Joe decides to take up another ID as a (male) millionaire to court her. Meanwhile, real millionaire Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown) is courting Daphne, and Daphne is starting to like it for more than the presents... which is unfortunate, since he's still a guy biologically.

The coup de grace? Joe and Jerry/Daphne eventually learn that the hotel is booked for a friends of Italian opera convention...

Some Like It Hot was named the funniest movie of the 20th century on the American Film Institute's "100 Years... 100 Laughs" list.

Tropes used in Some Like It Hot include:
  • Aborted Arc: At the beginning of the train trip, Sweet Sue tells Beinstock that she thinks there's "something funny about those new girls" and he tells her he'll keep an eye on them. Nothing further ever comes of this.
    • Possibly a subtle set-up for when Joe steals Beinstock's glasses to use as part of his "millionaire" persona.
  • Affectionate Parody: What is the last (realistic) thing you'd expect in a gangster flick? Men in drag, of course.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Or at least Sugar does.
  • Becoming the Mask: Jerry/Daphne, or at least it seems that way at one point.
  • The Chanteuse: Sugar.
  • Chase Scene
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Joe learns that Osgood proposed to Jerry (as Daphne):

Joe: What are you talking about? You can't marry Osgood.
Jerry: Why, you think he's too old for me?

  • Cool Boat: Osgood's yacht is pretty snazzy.
  • Different for Girls: Lampshaded as Jerry tries to figure out how to walk in heels, just as Sugar walks by them with a... memorable demonstration. Many years later, a movie reviewer asked Tony Curtis why his "Josephine" was so much more feminine than Jack Lemmon's "Daphne". A laughing Curtis explained that he was so scared to be playing a woman (or a man pretending to be one) that his tightly wound body language could be read as demure and shy, traditionally feminine traits, whereas Lemmon, who was completely unbothered, and "ran out of his dressing room screaming like the Queen of the May," kept much more of his masculine body language.
  • Dirty Old Man: Osgood. Jerry even names him as such at one point.
  • Disguised in Drag

Sweet Sue: Are you two from the Poliakoff Agency?
"Josephine": Yes, we're the new girls.
"Daphne": Brand new!

"Jerry, boy, why do you have to paint everything so black? Suppose you got hit by a truck? Suppose the stock market crashes? Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks? Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn? Suppose Lake Michigan overflows?"

  • Homoerotic Subtext: So very much, particularly for 1959. At one point Jerry-as-Daphne seems to be developing genuine romantic feelings for Osgood, much to Joe's consternation (and we later find out that Osgood is completely unfazed by Jerry's real gender). Also, Sugar doesn't seem to initially mind getting a full-on mouth kiss from Josephine. On a side note, Joe and Jerry are Heterosexual Life Partners, Joe is very insistent that they do everything together and that what's Jerry's is his and while Jerry vocally objects, he goes along with it anyway and at one point, they hold hands.
  • If It's You It's Okay: Everyone is flawed.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Apparently, the Mafia can only hit targets that stand still. Some Truth in Television to that, as the Saint Valentine's Day massacre was a case of More Dakka, and one victim still lived long enough to tell the police to fuck off.
  • Impossibly Low Neckline: Sugar's stage dresses. There's some transparent material holding it up to keep her from being Nipple-and-Dimed, but the opaque material only covers a minimal amount.
  • Ironic Echo: When Jerry (Daphne) and Joe (Josephine) first get on the train and see all the other women, Jerry starts salivating over the prospect, and Joe has to tell him to keep telling himself, "I'm a girl." Later, after "Daphne" has accepted Osgood's proposal of marriage, Joe has to tell him again to keep telling himself, "I'm a boy."

"I'm a girl. I'm a girl. I wish I was dead. I'm a girl."

  • It Will Never Catch On: "Suppose the stock market crashes. Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks. Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn!"
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: A gunman hides in a cake near the climax and mows down the Big Bad and his gang as retribution for the garage massacre witnessed by Joe and Jerry.
  • Larynx Dissonance
  • The Mafia
  • Meganekko: Sugar believes that men who wear glasses are more gentle and vulnerable. Joe takes full advantage of this by dressing up as a bespectacled millionaire, though he behaves more like a Stoic Spectacles.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sugar. It's Marilyn Monroe, the original Sex Goddess, at her finest.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sugar isn't quite as dumb as she acts; neither is Osgood.
  • Old-Fashioned Rowboat Date: Spoofed, due to the twists already happening in the plot, like Disguised in Drag.
  • Orphaned Punchline: "So the one-legged jockey says, 'Don't worry about me, baby, I ride sidesaddle!!' ", although the very beginning of the joke is told a few scenes before, when Josephine and Daphne are introduced to the band.
  • Pretty in Mink: Aside from the flapper era coats, Sugar wears a fox wrap for her date.
  • Recursive Crossdressing: Joe flip flops between being Joe, Josephine, and Junior so many times, it's a wonder he doesn't have split personalities by the end of the movie.
  • The Roaring Twenties.
  • Running Gag: Blood type O.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Daphne tries to talk Osgood out of his marriage proposal.
  • Sexophone: Sugar's first appearance is accompanied by a sax solo. The character also has a thing for sax players.
  • Sexy Backless Outfit: Sugar's gown for "I Wanna Be Loved By You".
  • Sexy Walk: Sugar. As Jerry comments: "Look how she moves. That's just like Jell-O on springs. She must have some sort of built-in motors."
  • Shout-Out: Joe's millionaire persona is an overt Cary Grant imitation; Curtis was a great admirer of Grant's work, and the two would appear together in Operation Petticoat later that same year.
    • Several to classic gangster movies:
      • At one point "Spats", played by George Raft, asks a Mook who is playing with a coin "Where'd you pick up that cheap trick?". Raft had created the iconic image of the coin-flipping crook; he played one in Scarface and in If I Had A Million, both made in 1932.
      • Later "Spats" threatens another Mook with a halved grapefruit, a Shout-Out to a famous scene in Public Enemy (1931), where James Cagney mashes a grapefruit in Mae Clarke's face.
      • The leading mafia boss is nicknamed "Little Bonaparte", a nod to Edward G. Robinson's character from the gangster film Little Caesar (1931).
  • Shrug Take: The final scene.
  • Stage Name: Sugar Kane used to be Sugar Kowalczyk.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Inverted in a hilarious manner.
  • Title Drop: Used when Joe, as his millionaire persona, discusses jazz music with Sugar.
  • Twist Ending: Which is probably It Was His Sled. If not, this entry has given away too much.
  • Unusual Euphemism: You didn't think the mafia convention called itself a mafia convention?
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Very loosely based on the Valentine's Day Massacre... very.
  • Wham! Line: "Nobody's perfect."
  • Wholesome Crossdresser