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SOME LIKE IT HOT

As someone who counts SOME LIKE IT HOT amongst their favorite films, I can see why it ranked so highly amongst the AFI's Top 100 movies of all time. SOME LIKE IT HOT is a fast and furious sex farce that was so perfectly scripted by director Billy Wilder and his writing partner I.A.L. Diamond, that it was worth every one of the numerous takes required for Marilyn Monroe, the film's leading lady, to get her lines right. The end result of the film's oftentimes frustrating production is pure cinematic magic. Every moment of SOME LIKE IT HOT seems to sparkle thanks to its crackerjack script and a group of performers that make the material sing. Wilder's direction is snappy and her really knows how to make a punch line work on the screen. In fact, the final line of SOME LIKE IT HOT, delivered by the incomparable Joe E. Brown, is probably the funniest punch line in all of cinema. Oh, and let us not forget the fine comic performances of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, which had me howling with laughter on countless occasions- especially Lemmon’s.

In 1958, SOME LIKE IT HOT was probably the broadest sex farce ever produced by Hollywood, which contained two of the least like broads. Set during the Roaring Twenties, SOME LIKE IT HOT tells the story of two down and out Chicago musicians, who witness the Saint Valentines Day Massacre and then have to flee for their lives. Knowing that the mobsters will be gunning for them in every band across America, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) don dresses and take a job as Josephine and Daphne in an all girl band that is heading for Florida. Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators would certainly seem to be a sweet gig for the two boys in the band; however, complications arise when Josephine falls for the band's lead singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) and Daphne catches the attention of amorous millionaire Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown). The cast of SOME LIKE IT HOT also features George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Nehemiah Persoff, Joan Shawlee, Billy Gray, George E. Stone, Dave Barry, Mike Mazurki, Harry Wilson, Beverly Wills, Barbara Drew, and Edward G. Robinson Jr..

MGM Home Entertainment has made SOME LIKE IT HOT in a 1.66:1 wide screen presentation that has NOT been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Since other companies are issuing 1.66:1 movies in enhanced wide screen, I think MGM should rethink their policy against it, which would ensure that their films have the best possible presentation on DVD. On a 4:3 display SOME LIKE IT HOT looks pretty darn good, although could have looked somewhat better in a new 16:9 enhanced presentation. As it stands, there are some modest flaws in the black and white film elements, which manifest themselves as minor blemishes and some noticeable grain. However, none of these flaws should be considered distracting. Contrast is generally very good, with solid blacks and stable whites that never blow out the picture. In a couple of spots, the blacks waiver a bit, but it isn't particularly noticeable. The image does offer up a good level of detail, even within the shadowy portions of the picture. For the most part, things appear crisp, but there are shots in the film that employ soft focus photography. Clean dual layer authoring disguise all traces of digital compression artifacts.

SOME LIKE IT HOT is offered on DVD with a new Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound mix. For those expecting sonic pyrotechnics, forget it. This is just a fattened up version of the film's original monaural soundtrack- spread across the format’s five channels. There is some sound effect panning between channels, but the material doesn't provide too many opportunities for it to be implemented. The film's music seems to take the biggest advantage of the 5.1 encoding, although the frequency limitations of the original recordings are readily apparent. Still, spreading out the music gave it a greater sense of presence. Dialogue is always intelligible, although the voices can sound a bit flat. A bit of distortion crept into the sound at higher listening levels, but the track sounds fine at a more modest setting. The original English monaural soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are offered in French and Spanish.

The Special Edition DVD release of SOME LIKE IT HOT features enhanced interactive menus that utilize full motion video, animation and sound. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Topping things off is a Nostalgic Look Back that features critic Leonard Maltin, who interviews actor Tony Curtis. Running thirty minutes, this recent interview is a genuine delight as we get to hear a highly enthusiastic Curtis expound on the making of one of the best loved screen comedies of all time. This is a great supplement that fans of the movie should not miss. Memories from the Sweet Sues features reminiscences from four of the actresses who played band members in the film. The twelve-minute program is warm and enjoyable, in addition to giving fans another glimpse behind the scenes. Running twenty-one minutes is the Virtual Hall of Memories, which is a video and photo montage that takes a look at the stars, as well as behind-the-scenes. The Pressbook Gallery allows one a look at the original press material used to promote SOME LIKE IT HOT during its theatrical release. Certainly interesting, but those with smaller displays will find it a bit hard on the eyes. Closing out the supplements is the film's theatrical trailer, as well as bonus trailers for several other Billy Wilder titles.

SOME LIKE IT HOT is a movie that I never tire of seeing because it always makes me laugh out loud. The film's presentation on DVD is good, but without the 16:9 enhancement, it isn't everything that it could have been. The supplements are enjoyable, especially the Tony Curtis interview, which makes the Special Edition DVD a worthwhile acquisition for fans.

SOME LIKE IT HOT is available on DVD in a movie only edition for $14.98 and as a Special Edition for $24.98.

 
SOME LIKE IT HOT 


Some Like It Hot (Special Edition)

  


DVD reviews are Copyright 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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