Thursday, September 5, 2013
KPBS film critic Beth Accomando recommends "Some Like It Hot" at Cinema Under the Stars to beat the heat.
Watching movies is best with an audience, and even better when the venue is as unique and charming as Cinema Under the Stars, an outdoor theater in Mission Hills. Celebrities greet you at the door – well cut outs of Alfred Hitchcock and Audrey Hepburn that is. You can watch from zero gravity lounge chairs with the stars twinkling above. I can’t think of a more perfect setting for the effervescent comedy "Some Like It Hot."
The film stars Marilyn Monroe as a singer in a girl band, and Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as musicians who have to dress like women to hide out from the mob. The first scene in which they appear in drag, Jack Lemmon's "Daphne" has a hard time with the female attire.
TONY CURTIS: What’s the matter now?
JACK LEMMON: How do they walk in these things, how do they keep their balance?
TONY CURTIS: Must be how the weight is distributed.
JACK LEMMON: And it's so drafty.
As they try to make their way through the train station to join up with the all-girl band, sexy burlesque music announces Marilyn Monroe's entrance, and Lemmon's Daphne is is awe.
JACK LEMMON: Look at that, look at how she moves. It’s like Jello on springs, she must have a built in motor, I tell you it’s a whole different sex.
Lemmon was never funnier, and Monroe was never sexier or more adorable. Director Billy Wilder delivers a delicious sex comedy that has a field day gender bending. The film is playful and witty, yet it also challenges sexual stereotypes and makes light of what so much of America was uptight about in the fifties and to a certain degree still is. The film famously ends with Joe E. Brown heading off into the night with Jack Lemmon's Daphne with plans of marriage. As Lemmon delicately tries to break the news that the marriage won't work because he's a man, to which Brown cheerfully replies, "Nobody's perfect." Well nobody may be perfect but Wilder's film is.
"Some Like It Hot" sizzles on screen tonight through Saturday at Cinema Under the Stars. Coming up are Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious, Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, and Bogie in The Maltese Falcon.
Companion viewing: "Niagara," "Ninotchka," "Ball of Fire"