Some Like It Hot
Is this the funniest American movie ever made? According to this year's poll by the American Film Institute, it is. What's inarguable is that Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy has aged very well indeed. Some Like It Hot finds Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis playing a pair of ne'er-do-well Roaring '20s jazz musicians who witness a gangland massacre and wind up taking it on the lam. When the guys pose as women to join an all-girl Dixieland band--which includes a sweetly charming Marilyn Monroe as a hooch-loving ukulele player named Sugar--Wilder moves the film past obvious drag gags into fun, frisky, and sexually sophisticated territory. Dressing up as women frees the male leads; the often jittery Lemmon, whose character is reborn as a giddy gold digger, seems to be having a ball, while drag gives the usually earthy Curtis a reserved refinement. (Curtis once said he based his distaff character on a combo of Eleanor Roosevelt and his own mother.) They may be topped, however, by comic Joe E. Brown's delicious turn as an oblivious suitor, which pays off in the film's perfect final scene.