Some Like It Hot

The great Tony Curtis died last week. This evening, as a sort of reminder of what he was about, we watched Some Like It Hot. It’s a great film. The story rattles along. Curtis and Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe are all excellent (Curtis and Monroe were already box office attractions but the film made Lemmon a star) and the script is peppered with one liners. George Raft, playing ‘Spats’ Colombo, heads a gang of mafiosi villains who would not be out of place in a Gilbert and Sullivan farce. The film is rated as an all-time classic and Billy Wilder’s direction seems seamless. In reality, though, production was an ordeal of chaos and tension for everybody because Monroe, whose psychological decline had begun, was so disruptive. Shooting had to be done around her unpredictable availability and she was unpleasant to everybody except Lemmon. Even the film’s closing punchline (‘I’m a man.’ ‘Well, nobody’s perfect.’) was an improvisation, necessitated by Monroe’s absence. But it doesn’t show and she gives a great performance. All credit to Billy Wilder, then, for drawing such order out of chaos.

1 Comment

  1. Hugo Kijne

    18/10/2010 at 17:59

    Some of the best movies come out of chaos, the filming of ‘Casablanca’ was also a mess.

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