As much of the world faces lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, millions are turning to movies for solace. One of the most frequent suggestions is Some Like It Hot: in the last week alone, Vulture’s film critic Angelica Jade Bastien has sung its praises, while The Medium‘s May Alsaigh focused on Marilyn’s role as Sugar Kane among the most iconic female characters. Monroe fans may wish more attention was paid to her many other great performances; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is also a comic masterpiece, for example. However, few stars of Hollywood’s golden age enjoy such posthumous acclaim, and with its inclusive message (‘Nobody’s perfect!’), Some Like It Hot has a timeless appeal.
“The time has never been wrong for this delirious screwball romp but seldom has it been more right. When it airs on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EDT, we, as a nation, would do well to huddle around Wilder’s warm fire with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe.”
Writing for the University of Toronto’s student magazine, The Medium, May Alsaigh looks at Marilyn’s role in Some Like It Hot alongside other iconic female screen characters.
“Monroe, an iconic sex symbol from Hollywood’s Golden Age, plays the character Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot released in the late fifties. The film follows two male musicians who disguise themselves as women as they flee in an all-female band after witnessing a mob hit. This film of meticulous crafts revolves around nothing but sexual desires. In the film, Sugar Kane dresses provocatively as she pours herself in a dress that flaunts her breasts for needy men. Her character speaks to female objectification and misogyny whilst motivating women to propagate toward the idea of revealing attire. “
With many of us now in quarantine due to the spread of coronavirus, I probably won’t be reporting on many events here for a while. However, we at least have the chance to watch movies at home, and with her great comedic gifts, Marilyn can brighten our days in these difficult times. On the Vulture website today, Angelica Jade Bastien recommends Some Like It Hot and if you don’t have a copy at home, it’s widely available on streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon. (Angelica has often championed Marilyn in her articles, which you can read here.)
“But to be completely honest, I return to this film for the wounded performance of Marilyn Monroe. You probably formed an idea of Monroe long before you ever saw her onscreen. Perhaps you caught sight of her flattened image — red lipped and yearning — plastered on a mug, Andy Warhol–style. Maybe you learned through osmosis to regard her as a tragedy. Monroe is a cinematic atom bomb mushrooming with significance. In death she’s become for many artists and writers an emblem of 1950s sexuality, a feminist icon, a victim, a muse. Personally, I’d rather focus on what she did onscreen, where she’s decadently hilarious, brimming with fully realized emotion. At first blush, Sugar could be discarded as just another example of the dumb-blonde archetype. Hell, she calls herself dumb. But I think she’s too self-aware for that. Monroe balances the needs of the character beautifully. Watch as her face melts like ice cream when she notes how she always “gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop.” Watch how she leans over Joe late in the film, her body a canvas upon which the film displays its notions of sex and desire. This is a movie about desire above all else, and the hilarious ways we strive for it.”
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman – the team behind Smash, an NBC drama depicting the making of a Broadway musical about Marilyn – are adapting Some Like It Hot for the stage, with a pre-Broadway limited run set for Chicago in March 2021, Deadline reports. (The classic movie was, of course, partly set in the windy city in the Roaring Twenties.) Some Like It Hot was previously turned into another stage musical, Sugar, which remains popular in regional theatre. Shaiman and Wittman had earlier discussed bringing Bombshell, the ‘show within a show’ from Smash, to the stage, before announcing their current venture back in 2018 (see here.)
Some Like It Hot will be screened at the Edmonds Centre for the Arts in Snohomish County, Washington State on Thursday, February 13. The evening’s entertainment begins at 6:30 pm, with jazz duo Sundae & Mr. Goessl performing cabaret.
Marilyn’s literary prowess is highlighted in the current issue of Yours Retro (with Cary Grant on the cover), in an article about stars with hidden talents. And with this year’s Oscars just weeks away, Some Like It Hot tops a list of classic movies denied Best Picture nominations.
PROOF: Photography in the Era of the Contact Sheet, on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art from February 2 – April 12, includes a section devoted to Marilyn and is accompanied by Marilyn X 4, a week-long film series with screenings of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Some Like It Hot, Bus Stop and The Misfits (from February 9-16.)
Marilyn’s iconic role as Sugar Kane is one of the inspirations behind ‘Women in Love’, the new single from British indie-pop duo Summer Camp‘s upcoming second album, Romantic Comedy. Singer Elizabeth Sankey has also directed a documentary of the same name, which you can read about here.
“‘Women In Love’ is about falling for a woman who is packed full of idiosyncrasies and complexity. Obviously the manic pixie dream girl trope of rom coms has been discussed in great detail, but for us this song is less about those more modern heroines, and more about the classic rom com queens who completely befuddle and complicate the lives of the men who are attracted to them. It’s Katharine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby, Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot, and Goldie Hawn in The Housesitter. It’s about how their love interests feel so lucky to be adored by such strange, complicated, and surprising women.'”