SOME LIKE IT HOT
Will you look at that! Look
how she moves!
Itís easy to see why SOME LIKE IT HOT ($25) is ranked at the number one comedy of all time on the American Film Instituteís 100 Years...100 Laughs listing, not to mention landing in the number fourteen position on their Top 100 movies of all time. Perfectly scripted by director Billy Wilder and his writing partner I.A.L. Diamond, SOME LIKE IT HOT is a fast and furious sex farce that proves to be is pure cinematic magic. While the end result is certainly golden, SOME LIKE IT HOT is legendary for its oftentimes-frustrating production stemming from the idiosyncrasies of the movieís leading lady. Whatever problems Marilyn Monroe brought to the set with her, the longevity of SOME LIKE IT HOT and its highly regarded classic standing proves that every one of the numerous takes required for to the actress to get her lines right was well worth it.
Every moment of SOME LIKE IT HOT seems to sparkle thanks to Wilder and Diamondís crackerjack script, not to mention a group of performers that make the material sing. Wilder's direction is snappy and he has perfect follow-through on every punch line. In fact, the final line of SOME LIKE IT HOT, delivered by the incomparable Joe E. Brown, is probably the funniest deadpan punch line in all of cinema. Oh, and let us not forget the outstanding comic performances of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, which have me howling with laughter every time I see them- especially Lemmonís. If you donít laugh during the tango scene, youíve probably been dead for at least six months.
In 1958, SOME LIKE IT HOT was probably the broadest sex farce ever produced by Hollywood, especially when you consider the two "broads" at the center of the plot. 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, assume the identities of Josephine and Daphne, then take a job in an all girl band heading for Florida. Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators would certainly seem to be a sweet gig for these 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). In addition to the wonderful leads, 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..
Sony Pictures/MGM Home Entertainment has made SOME LIKE IT HOT available on DVD in a 1.66:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays. Finally, SOME LIKE IT HOT has been given a presentation befitting its classic stature. The black and white image is generally crisp and offers good definition. There is some mild softness in places, but it has more to do with Hollywood glamour cinematography than any flaw in the transfer. Blacks appear deep, whites are completely stable, plus the picture produces excellent contrast and a nicely varied grayscale. The black and white film elements do display minor flaws, mostly small blemishes, but nothing too distracting. A grain structure is noticeable in places, but it is never excessive and helps to give the presentation a film like quality. Digital compression artifacts are well disguised.
SOME LIKE IT HOT is offered on DVD with what appears to be the same Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound re-mix that was present on the previous issue. This 5.1 channel mix isnít particularly directional- just a slightly more spacious version of the film's original monaural soundtrack. The film's music makes the most of the 5.1 encoding, although the limited fidelity of the original recordings remains apparent. However, spreading the music across the soundstage gives it a greater sense of presence. Dialogue is easy to understand, although the voices occasionally sound looped. The original English monaural soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as is a French language track. Subtitles are offered in English and French.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials, which have been spread across both discs of this two-disc set. Some of the supplements are from the previous release of the film, but this edition also includes newly produced material. The only supplement on disc one is a running audio commentary featuring screenwriter I.A.L. Diamondís son Paul, plus Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, as well as comments from actors Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, which were taken from archival interviews.
Moving on to disc two, one will find the remainder of the supplemental programming. The Making Of Some Like It Hot is a twenty-five minute program comprised of new and archival interviews that looks back at the production of the film. The Legacy Of Some Like It Hot is a twenty-minute companion piece to the first program that offers some different insights into the production and the effects of the film. Next up is the thirty-minute Nostalgic Look Back that features critic Leonard Maltin interviewing Tony Curtis, who enthusiastic expounds on the making of one of the best-loved screen comedies of all time. Memories from the Sweet Sues features twelve minutes of reminiscences from four of the actresses who played band members in the film. 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. A Theatrical Trailer and bonus trailers close out the supplements.
A personal favorite, I wholeheartedly concur with the AFIís high regard for SOME LIKE IT HOT. Sony/MGMís new 16:9 enhanced presentation finally gives the film the kind of respect it deserves on DVD. Add to the mix are some new supplements, which makes this upgraded package a definite must have. Highly recommended. Zowie!
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