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Some Like It Hot

“Nobody’s perfect” – this is the final line of the perfect movie. “Some like is hot” is the greatest comedy of all times. The narrative in the movie moves at breakneck speed. I think Billy Wilder accomplished this with tough economy. I mean there is no additional detail that could draw viewer’s attention away from the main story. I’d like to analyze some components of the film to prove this.


The plot of the film is rather simple. All the scenes of the film are connected with a plot. One or more of the main characters is present in every scene of the film


In spite of the fact that all the characters of the movie are bright and vital, Wilder shows nothing that is not related to the story. For example, the story of Sugar Kane about her father in the train creates comedy later, when Sugar meets Jerry – false millionaire Junior, but she never mentioned her mother because it was not important for the movie.


Film is black and white; it had no spectacular special effects. Every detail that appeared in the picture close-up is important for the story, for example, holes in the bass. Thus, no visual effects could distract audience.


There is not much scenes without dialogs in the film. However conversation of the characters is always short, without long monologues and protracteddescriptions. Just the opposite, there are a lot of short remarks and on-liners.


Even songs in the movie are the part of the story. The song lyrics in “Running Wild” and “I’m through with love” show the feelings of Sugar (and it is important, that songs are shortened).

Movement in the picture

There is a lot of movement in the film: car of the mobsters, train, elevator and even gurney move through the screen creating the speed.

However it is obvious such economy does not create the good comedy by itself. “Some like it hot” as any comedy has a three-step structure of “desire, deception and discovery”.  The story of two guys in drag among women is world-old, but Wilder placed this old story in the almost legendary time of mobsters and alcohol prohibition in the USA. The combination of fear and passion, cynicism and romance electrify the audience.

Sure it can not go without mentioning Marilyn Monroe and her character Sugar. Wilder was the only film director who could make more then one film with Marilyn. Her willfulness and questionable talent alienated directors. Wilder let her play herself: beautiful and luckless woman.  The “dump blonde” is popular comic character, but Marilyn was one of the few actresses who made this character memorable.

The romantic character of Marilyn is supplemented with the character of Jack Lemmon, who’s mimics and gesture are incomparably funny.

At last, I’d mention the perfect sense of proportion if Wilder. In spite of the provocative and sexual symbolism Wilder did not create any vulgar or obscene scene.  This makes Some like it hot the film with the difference.

“It would not be hyperbole to call Some Like It Hot a comic masterpiece. It has the classic comic plot of disguise, deception, and intrigue where a single complication generates a series of subplots the way a single pebble creates concentric ripples in a pool. Some Like It Hot also possesses a quality found in the best comedies—a sense of humanity and an attitude of compassion for the lunatics and lovers who play the fool for our sake.”(Dick, Bernard F. Billy Wilder. New York, DeCapo Press, 1996.)

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