Billy Wilder was once told by movie mogul David Selznick that "blood and jokes don't mix". Thankfully, Wilder ignored this advice and went ahead with Some Like It Hot, a black-and-white farce which daringly blended gender confusion, unorthodox romance and brutal murder. The result was one of Hollywood's most endearing and enduring comedies, which is now being re-released by the BFI in a new 35mm print.
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are the struggling musicians in late '20s Chicago, who find themselves in trouble when they inadvertently witness a gangland massacre, arranged by the mobster Spats (a dime-flipping George Raft). Desperate to flee the city, they disguise themselves as members of an all-girl jazz group heading for a gig in Florida.
But amorous complications set in when Curtis's `Josephine' is smitten with the voluptuous lead singer (a touchingly vulnerable Marilyn Monroe), while Lemmon's `Daphne' is pursued by an elderly male millionaire. And then Spats and his cohorts arrive...
Superbly constructed, and with a trio of terrific lead performances to complement the sparkling script, Some Like It Hot offers up countless magical comedy moments: the late-night party on Daphne's bunk-bed, Curtis's Cary Grant impersonation, Lemmon's dance with the maracas, Monroe's heartfelt rendition of I'm Through With Love... Not to mention one of the finest, and funniest, closing lines in cinema history.