Illustration: Adeline Pericart
Blisters on your shoulders, sand in your underwear, coughing up seawater and being packed into a caravan with the entire extended family – the sweet, sweet memories of summer’s past. Thank God we have film to look back on with pleasure. And so the Film Ireland sun lovers lay down their towels, unwrap a Cornetto and recall their favourite summer films in the latest installment of ‘We Love… Summer’. Emma O’Donoghue joins the band for Some Like It Hot.
Now lash on the sunblock…
Some Like It Hot
As we all know, the Irish summer is a fickle mistress, frequently throwing tantrums and enforcing indoor barbeques, squelchy shoes and the need for five layers of clothing. So if your plans for a sophisticated (i.e. gin-soaked) garden party are washed out at any stage this summer, to hell with it – open a bottle of your finest cheap Merlot and let Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon carry you off to a sunnier place.
Although it traditionally seems to pop up on television screens across the country around Christmas, Some Like It Hot has all the vivacity and charisma of a summer movie. This is a production that achieves that most rare and delectable feat: withstanding the ravages and judgement of time. Despite being over fifty years old it effortlessly continues to look fresh and dazzling and remains one of the finest comedies of all time.
It’s 1929, and in a cold Chicago parking lot, two struggling musicians – smooth-talking sax player Joe (Tony Curtis) and jittery bass player Jerry (Jack Lemmon) inadvertently witness a brutal mob massacre. Things go from bad to worse as the financially challenged friends suddenly find themselves fleeing for their lives. In their desperation to make a speedy escape from the city they take a job with a band travelling to sunny Florida to play in a hotel…but wait, there’s a catch – it’s an all-girl band. It’s a simple premise really: two manly men are forced to dress up as women – hilarity ensues.
Deriving entertainment from the discomfort of men who aren’t accustomed to being in drag is a common ploy in movies, but this isn’t your typical mindless slapstick (i.e. The Wayans Brothers in the abysmal White Chicks). Comedy genius permeates Joe and Jerry’s struggle to maintain their disguises and avoid suspicion. Their predicament serves as a springboard for the comedic talent of Lemmon in particular, as Jerry’s female alter-ego ‘Daphne’ tries desperately to evade the advances of the ageing millionaire Osgood, while Joe resorts to a further farcical disguise in order to seduce the beautiful but naïve singer and ukulele player Sugar (Marilyn Monroe). However, it’s not all fun and frolics on the beach as the seedy mobsters from the Chicago parking lot just so happen to be attending a conference in the same hotel the band is staying in…
There isn’t much about Some Like It Hot that hasn’t already been said – quite simply, it’s a classic and is absolutely guaranteed to get you in the summer mood (particularly after that bottle of Merlot). It’s flawlessly scripted and hysterical, not to mention it has one of the best closing lines in movie history. If nothing else, you can’t help being impressed by the skill with which these guys negotiate high heels and one-piece bathing suits… they just don’t make men like that anymore.