Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are two down-on-their-luck jazz musicians in Prohibition-era Chicago. They witness a gangland massacre, and in order to hide from the hoodlums, dress up in drag and join an all-female jazz band that is off to play an extended gig in Florida. The vocalist of the band is none other than Marilyn Monroe, and though it is Lemmon who first casts designs for her, it is Curtis who engages in the wooing. Lemmon, meanwhile, has his hands full when billionaire Joe E. Brown f…lls head over heels for his female persona.
This is a film that hardly needs introduction, description, or commentary. It is one of the Really Big Ones, one of the great Hollywood comedies and one of the Billy Wilder’s finest moments (in a career full of fine moments). Of note: Monroe at her most scorching, Lemmon in full-on motor-mouth hysteria, Curtis doing a hilarious caricature of Cary Grant, and dialogue that rattles by at such a speed that the script slips in plenty of “did they really just say THAT??” moments so fast that one the audience is left racing to catch up. Priceless.
The audio comes in both original mono and new 5.1 versions. The 5.1 is a pretty solid remix. It doesn’t work miracles, but it doesn’t commit any crimes, either. Surround elements are limited, but there are some (such as some crowd scenes), and the music sounds very good. For the most part, the rear speakers are pretty subdued, but they don’t chime in with the wrong sounds (i.e. dialogue stays where it should).
The picture is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. Though it is good that the original format is respected, the anamorphic format does present a bit of a compromise for 16:9 televisions – there is some loss of picture information at the top and the bottom. The print is in excellent shape, with zero damage, and the grain held to the absolute minimum (for most of the running time, there is no grain at all). The blacks-and-white tones are terrific, and the image is very sharp. Nice.
Disc 1’s sole special feature is the audio commentary. It is lead by what is something of a screenwriters’ roundtable (though not the writers of this film, of course) and is supplemented by plenty of interview material from Curtis, Lemmon and the like. On Disc 2, the 20-minute making-of featurette is informative and loaded with vintage material. “The Legacy of Some Like It Hot” has musings on that topic from the starts but also plenty of contributions from the likes of Curtis Hanson and Hugh Heffner. The “Nostalgic Look Back” is an interview with Curtis conducted by the ever-enthusiastic Leonard Maltin. “Memories from the Sweet Sues” reunites four of the women who played musicians in the band for their reminiscences of the film. The “Virtual Hall of Memories” is essentially a still gallery supplemented by film clips, and is divided into sections devoted to Monroe, Lemmon, Curtis, Wilder and behind-the-scenes. The other gallery is of the original pressbook. The theatrical trailer is here, too, as are some previews for other releases.
Great film, great print, very nice package all round. Dump your other copy, and get this one.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Making-of Documentary
- “The Legacy of Some Like It Hot” Featurette
- “Nostalgic Look Back” Interview with Tony Curtis
- “Memories from the Sweet Sues” Featurette
- Virtual Hall of Memories
- Pressbook Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer