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Some Like It Hot (1959) Print E-mail
Monday, 16 May 2011
Image“Some Like It Hot” is just that…Hot.  This is the first Marilyn Monroe film that I ever saw and she leaves quite the impression.  This film is fun and energetic from beginning to end.  There is never a dull moment.

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star as Joe and Jerry, a saxophonist and bassist in prohibition 1929.  When they become witnesses to the St. Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago, they have to figure out the quickest way out of town.  The film starts out as a serious mobster film and quickly takes a turn for the comical.  Joe and Jerry pose as women, Josephine and Daphne in order to join an all girls band that is head for Florida.  Curtis and Lemmon dressed as women is hysterical in its own right, but their interactions with others as women just adds icing to the cake.  There is a great deal of sexual innuendo in this film, not to mention Monroe’s gowns.

Monroe plays Sugar Kane, one of the best character names in the history of cinema.  She is just as sweet as her name suggests, but she is not an innocent.  She harbors booze and falls for men at the drop of a hat.  The all girls band is her escape from her weakness, well at least the men part.  However, Josephine, or Joe is determined to put a wrinkle in that plan.

In Florida Josephine transforms into Shell Oil Jr., playing to Sugar’s every fantasy of meeting and marrying a rich man.  Meanwhile Daphne has the eye of a rich playboy played by Joe E. Brown.  When the groups reaches Florida the film turns into a comical romance, in which Curtis and Lemmon bounce back and forth between being man and woman.

Ultimately, their past catches up with them and Joe and Jerry must run from the mobsters who have by chance found them in Florida. “Some Like It Hot” is a juggling act for everyone.  And everyone plays it to a T.  The timing of each line is delivered perfectly and the innuendo, comical ties to real life events of the time period and actions on screen are all perfectly synchronized.  It really doesn’t get better than this.

“Some Like It Hot” comes to Blu-ray with the same remaster used for the previous 2-disc collector’s edition of the film on DVD.  Of course, the resolution is high def, making this one terrific image.  You will have never seen this film in such good shape, even if you saw it originally in theaters.  It certainly could be better provided more time was spent in restoration.  It is unfortunate that it did not receive the digibook treatment.  There are plenty of specks and flicker to go round.  However, it is easy to look past those flaws as it can be thought of as part of the classic cinema experience.  Film noise is generally under control.  There are few moments of bursting noise but they past quickly.  The contrast and brightness are tidy, providing great shadow delineation and solid black, gray and white levels.  Sharpness is great, with only momentary soft shots creeping in from time to time.  Once again, the film is presented in 1.66:1 so make sure your HDTV is displaying the image correctly with black bars down the sides of the image and not cropping.

The audio is a bit of a bummer here.  While most will thoroughly enjoy the audio track, I found it to be a bit awkward.  MGM has given us a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track, expanding from the original mono source material.  The opening car and gun shooting sequence turned me off from the get go.  The panning and directionality of the cars squealing and the gunshots in the rear channels is very jumpy and hardly in sync with the action on or off screen.  I give them props for the attempt, but I think I would have preferred the original audio track in this case.  Unfortunately, purists will hate MGM, as there is no inclusion of the original audio track on the disc, even as a lossy audio track.  Now, on the plus side, once the opening sequence passes, the surround channels become much less pronounced and settle down.  The music in the beginning is a bit obnoxious in the beginning, but again settles in nicely.  The songs sung by Monroe have never sounded better.  Dialogue is clear.  Thankfully there is no warble from distorted reels.  Noise is never noticeable.  It is present but it doesn’t fluctuate due to poor noise reduction.  Aside from the opening, this is a solid audio track.  Just wish the original track had also been included.

The Blu-ray comes with the same bonus materials that were present on the previous collector’s edition DVD.  There are no new Blu-ray exclusive bonus materials.  All special features remain in standard definition.

First, there is an audio commentary that is made up from various interviews with different members of the cast, but primarily with the screenwriters.  There isn’t much interesting information presented here.  My advice would be to skip it.  “The Legacy of ‘Some Like It Hot’” highlights the impact the film.  “The Making Of ‘Some Like It Hot’” contains interviews with many of the key filmmakers.  “Nostalgic Look Back” is a sitdown with Leonard Maltin and Tony Curtis.  “Virtual Hall Of Memories” is a section of stills.  “Memories From The Sweet Sues” is a retrospective piece.  Finally there is a theatrical trailer.

“Some Like It Hot” is a simply a must own.  The film is entertaining and it is Monroe at her sweetest.  The audio and video are more than adequate on this Blu-ray release but I can’t help but wondering if a more thorough restoration of the film will come in the feature, particularly by Criterion.

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