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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

04.04.2002

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digs presents: dragapalooza  
by Diana Goodman
| 1 2 3
continued from page 2

review Think the plot sounds familiar? Of course it does. It's the formula for every subsequent drag comedy, good and bad, from Bosom Buddies to Just One of the Guys. The thing that makes this movie stand above everything else is the dialogue, written by director Billy Wilder and frequent collaborator I.A.L. Diamond. It's tight, witty and quick, with the kind of intelligent banter we don't get anymore without it marinated in sarcasm and/or irony. Some Like it Hot is also far more suggestive than one expects from 1959, with references to homosexuality, impotence, promiscuity and heaping gobs of innuendo slipping, heaven knows how, passed the censors. ("Why would a guy want to marry a guy?" "Security!") 

And the acting is something else. Marilyn Monroe gives the best performance of her career, and amazingly so, as the drinking, pill-popping and deep manic depression made it impossible for her to even remember her lines. Jack Lemmon also hits a career high, in a screwball role that provides him the perfect comedic showcase. After Some Like it Hot, he started digging into his dramatic side and proved himself to be an incredible actor, largely forgoing the silliness of pure comedy in favor of more serious roles. It's a shame, because in Some Like it Hot, Lemmon gives a maniacally funny performance the likes of which he never quite got again.

Not that there arenít countless other reasons to seek out this movie. Some Like it Hot has been back under the microscope in the past week or so after the death of Billy Wilder at the untimely young age of 95. All its elements are laid out for examination: plot, dialogue, structure, acting, directing, music, that great closing line ... but Some Like it Hot is more than the sum of its parts. It sticks with you. It stays funny each time you watch it, and all the time in between. To pinpoint what makes it so damn funny would rob it of its magic, and isnít that what movies are supposed to be about?

o

more laze articles by Diana Goodman: 
lights! camera! boot camp! classic film 101

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