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DanEngler

Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot  

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  1. 1. Does "Some Like It Hot" belong on the AFI list?

    • Yes
      5
    • I personally prefer classical music.
      4

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  • Poll closed on 10/11/19 at 07:00 AM

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Amy & Paul get cookin’ with 1959’s Billy Wilder gender-bending comedy Some Like It Hot! They learn why the film’s final line was controversial, ask if films about cross-dressing still need to be made, and dive into Marilyn Monroe’s troubled history with Hollywood. Plus: Mira Sorvino discusses getting into Marilyn’s head to star in “Norma Jean & Marilyn.”

What sort of American Graffiti would you draw? Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 with your answer! Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Photo credit: Kim Troxall

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I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but as far as alternate titles for Some Like It Hot, I was curious about the title in other countries, so I threw them into Google Translate.  So here is the list of translated international titles of Some Like It Hot:

  • Nobody Is Perfect
  • The Hotter the Better
  • Small Places
  • One Eve and Two Adams
  • Hot on the Ears
  • Half Jokingly, Half Seriously
  • In the Hottest Layer
  • Jazz Only Girls
  • Some People Like Jazz
  • There Are Only Girls in Jazz
  • In Jazz, Only Girls Are Girly
  • With Skirts and Being Crazy (I feel like a better translation of this would be solid; it's "Con Faldas y a lo Loco" in Spanish)

 

Edit: After listening to the podcast, this is even more relevant than I expected it to be!

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Not directly for this movie, but since this is the Marilyn Monroe episode:

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Sorry for the shamelessness.😊 

I was a second rounder in the Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition with my script "Some Like It K-pop," a gender-flipped reimagining where two girls disguise themselves as men to join a Korean boy band.

I don't often get a chance to bring it up in conversation, but I never pass up the opportunity :) 

 

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Stated with the caveat that I only had a chance to start the rewatch of this but didn't have the time to finish (and probably won't, October is typically a busy month for me) -

While I enjoy this movie, and know that it ranks highly on all the lists, back when I first watched it and sort of still feel thoughts that echo what Paul said on the podcast. I just enjoy The Apartment more.  I think of Sunset Blvd as a great film. To me, Some Like it Hot seems like a solidly good film, but doesn't seem like a great film to me. 

If I were to gravitate to a movie that's just simply funny for lists like these, I'd find myself choosing Dr Strangelove and Life of Brian. Which admittedly, neither are "simply", I guess. 

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I haven't been on the Unspooled forum in far too long, but I am happy to come back as a resident Marilyn Monroe stan, and as someone who extremely protective of her.

Literally I came in to this week's episode with arms up ready to fight for her, but obviously Amy is a huge fan of hers as well, and a ginormous Gentlemen Prefer Blondes fan like me, and I was very happy to hear them properly talk about her fragile state in this period of her life as well as her lack of professionalism. Continuously I will go back and forth between my thought process of this movie because I know what it's like to have clinical depression and anxiety and to have people completely ignore it, and we would all be remiss to overlook that she did suffer from mental illness that had not been properly diagnosed. So I can't imagine the trauma her own brain was putting her through, and to add into that the emotional abuse she suffered at the hands of Arthur Miller. On that note specifically, I know also as well as him genuinely blaming her for his lack of muse, he also wrote TERRIBLE things about her in his journals that she later found and had read. I can't remember much, but I do remember the bulk of it being how Arthur thought she was genuinely too stupid to even be around at some point.

Anyway, back on to this movie. I do think that even when you suffer from mental illness there is a level of having to show up for your life in place, which I imagine was extremely amplified more in the 1950s. It's completely understandable without the support that most of us get these days that she was breaking down. Even with therapy I just can't imagine things were as good back then as they are now. Yet, I'm still torn on justifying how late she was and how much she missed.

In my work I deal with a lot of movie stills for cable promotional images. It's basically like how Netflix chooses an image from a movie to highlight when you pause or whatever lol. Well I was going through the ones we have for Some Like it Hot at one point, and I was struck by a handful that we had that had been labeled as Marilyn Monroe. I know what this woman looks like better than anyone, and the woman that was in these photos was indeed NOT Marilyn Monroe. I literally stared at them for so long being like, "Is my brain messing with me, or is this not her?" And it hit me... they went ahead and did these promotional photos with a stand in and there you have Jack Lemon, Tony Curtis, and Nameless Blonde Stand In taking the official images for this movie. Clearly at some point they did get Marilyn in for some solo photos because she does show up at some point in our folder of images, but they must have taken the negatives from that and did some old fashioned style Photoshop to get Marilyn's head there.

I have more points I would love to talk about movie-wise, but I really wanted to start this off talking about Marilyn because I genuinely love her so much. I've been planning on a Marilyn tattoo for quite some time, and I want it done absolutely the best it could possibly be so I gotta start saving a tooon of money for it lol.

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Like Amy, upon this rewatch I was struck by just how well-directed this movie is. Wilder goes above and beyond with his framing, camera movement, transitions between scenes, etc. It really is a great piece of filmmaking in addition to being a funny movie.

Is it an especially deep movie? No, not really. But I also was left feeling like it was pretty much perfect as a piece of entertainment, just beautifully made on on all levels. Even the musical numbers (which hurt, for example, the comic pacing of Marx Brothers movies) are terrific and serve the story. I'm not even thrown off by the gangster stuff, seems to me that's all necessary and well-integrated with the larger plot.

So yes, keep it on the list and keep it high.

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So I find it very interesting that Marilyn found her character to be a little on the dumb side when faced with these two men in drag, because when I watched this movie for the first time I was definitely seeing it through a modern lens and my first thought was, "Oh wow! This girl is so progressive that she's honestly like well these women say they're women so they're women!" That partnered with that brilliant final line, "Nobody's perfect," really planted this as an incredibly modern tale and I believe that's what makes it land and hold up over time.

Clearly I don't think that's what they were exactly going for, but hell what a good outcome.

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I watched Some Like It Hot without knowing about any behind-the-scenes drama and I was taken aback by how great Marilyn's performance was. Not "coaxed into competence by a brilliant man-director and clever editing" great, not "playing a silly caricature like in All About Eve", but instead fully-realized humanity on display. And, for the first time, I understand the Marilyn Monroe mythos/fell in love with her a little. In comparison, Jack Lemmon is not nearly as sympathetic as he is in The Apartment (which I adore) and Tony Curtis is a straight-up dick (ahem, "cad") through most of the film.

I was also surprised by how modern the movie feels. There were a handful of jokes that would have an edge to them even in 2019, so it was pretty astonishing to see them in a 1959 comedy.

Twiddling my own personal bass fiddle, it was nice to finally learn the origins of the sample from this Lovage track:

 

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1 hour ago, taylorannephoto said:

I've been planning on a Marilyn tattoo for quite some time, and I want it done absolutely the best it could possibly be so I gotta start saving a tooon of money for it lol.

You say this and all I can picture is something like comedian/podcaster Erin McGathy's Julie Andrews tattoo.

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9 minutes ago, DanEngler said:

You say this and all I can picture is something like comedian/podcaster Erin McGathy's Julie Andrews tattoo.

Oh my god that's so beautiful though! I truly went back and forth about something simple vs a realistic portrait but honestly there's this tattoo artist that does some of the best portrait work I've ever seen. So I've decided to save my money to travel to him!

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1 hour ago, taylorannephoto said:

So I find it very interesting that Marilyn found her character to be a little on the dumb side when faced with these two men in drag, because when I watched this movie for the first time I was definitely seeing it through a modern lens and my first thought was, "Oh wow! This girl is so progressive that she's honestly like well these women say they're women so they're women!" That partnered with that brilliant final line, "Nobody's perfect," really planted this as an incredibly modern tale and I believe that's what makes it land and hold up over time.

Clearly I don't think that's what they were exactly going for, but hell what a good outcome.

Yeah, there's a general humanism to it that keeps any of the comedy from getting icky where it often can in a movie like this. Like, when the guys are dressed as women they are taken seriously as women and that's it. Marilyn's character isn't treated as dumb because she doesn't realize they are men, it's just that she's focused on her own concerns. There's no flipping out or "gay panic" when any male characters learn of the cross-dressing, they just roll with it.

I guess you can argue the comedy works because it's doing the opposite of what you expect and you expect some of that gross stuff to happen, but I'll take it.

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I do think the scene on the boat where Mr. Shell Oil lies about his ability to get aroused in order to get Sugar to make out with him to be shady and inappropriate. And all the groping and lies in the form of 'romance'. That's the stuff that sort of dated this film out for me. I couldn't quite get it up on that ultimate pedestal.

But I'm not trying to argue any views down though; generally my take is similar to Paul's. It's a fine movie, but there's so much better.

But I'll add, I loved this episode itself. Learning the history of Monroe and most importantly, tying it to her work, was great. If Unspooled ends, Amy should do more of that. I'd be happy to have Amy guide us through an actor or director's filmography, mixing in their bios and putting everything in context from a modern perspective.

 

(I haven't listened to Lovage in years, gonna dig that out! I love Dan the Automator.)

 

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5 hours ago, taylorannephoto said:

Oh my god that's so beautiful though! I truly went back and forth about something simple vs a realistic portrait but honestly there's this tattoo artist that does some of the best portrait work I've ever seen. So I've decided to save my money to travel to him!

Wow, those are so good that I worry I'd travel all the way to Belgium only to discover they were photoshopped!

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3 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Amy should do more of that. I'd be happy to have Amy guide us through an actor or director's filmography, mixing in their bios and putting everything in context from a modern perspective.

She has done some stuff kind of like that. Check out her Ringer podcast series (one on Halloween and another on Quentin Tarantino), or her sporadic short-form podcast, ZOOM.

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I don't have anything to add except sobe interested in Marilyn Monroe may want to check out the movie My Week With Marilyn. It's set during the filming of Prince And The Showgirl. Itechoes what Amy said about her being not great on set but, once she gets a take right, she absolutely does it better than anyone.

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On 10/5/2019 at 6:40 PM, grudlian. said:

I don't have anything to add except sobe interested in Marilyn Monroe may want to check out the movie My Week With Marilyn. It's set during the filming of Prince And The Showgirl. Itechoes what Amy said about her being not great on set but, once she gets a take right, she absolutely does it better than anyone.

I would also like to add that everyone should check out Love, Marilyn. It's an HBO Doc that took her journals and letters and had actors and actresses read them out paired with interviews from those alive that knew her. It's beautifully done.

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Worldwide, Marilyn Monroe is definitely more iconic than James Dean. The only other American who is as iconic might be Charlie Chaplin. And with both of them, I'd say it's about the performance. When people hear Charlie Chaplin, they picture the Little Tramp; when people hear Marilyn Monroe, they picture her 'dumb blonde' character. With Monroe, the identification goes so far that many people think she actually was that person. Now that's great acting. I honestly think she's one of the most underrated comedians ever. As for her needing her lines to be written on notes all over the set: so did Marlon Brando.

I like this anecdote from James Bacon about Monroe in Fritz Lang's Clash by Night in 1952, before she was a star: "I watched Marilyn spoil 27 takes of a scene one day. She had only one line, but before she could deliver it about 20 other actors had to go through a whole series of intricate movements on a boat. Everybody was letter perfect in every take, but Marilyn could not remember that one line... Finally she got it right and Fritz yelled: ‘Thank God. Print it.’ Later, in her dressing room, Marilyn confessed that she had muffed the line on purpose for all those takes: ‘I just didn’t like the way the scene was going. When I liked it, I said the line perfectly.'"

Also, Some Like It Hot is way more of a jazz movie than La La Land, if only because it has more than a minute of jazz music in it.

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