Sunday, May 19, 2013

Giving Thanks: Some Like It Hot


I tend to like my cinema dark and moody, complex and metaphorical.  It should challenge the viewer, stand up to multiple viewings and, in a very large sense, be About Something.

Yet today I give thanks for a movie that, while having a complex and metaphorical backbone in the background, I appreciate for curves in all the right places: Some Like It Hot and its leading lady, Marilyn Monroe.  Now, I know, you might be thinking that to lust after Marilyn Monroe is old hat, and I'm only the billionth person in line.  Let me share a bit of context.

I rather resist seeing most classic comedies.  I prefer film noir or war pictures... I'll even take a thematically black and white western over... yuck... Jerry Lewis.  Further, I had briefly studied Some LIke It Hot as part of a film course I took in college.  Without seeing it, I intellectually appreciated it for its deep message hiding behind silly farce (which you can read more about here).  Thus I was rather nonplussed when my wife insisted that we watch it together when it appeared on our beloved Netflix.

I thought I understood the mystique of Marilyn Monroe: sexy for time when belly buttons were something that you saw only on newborn babies and your wife--and for the latter, only when you pushed your twin beds together for marital relations and there was some light coming through the shades and curtains.  I thought she couldn't act--after all, I read Joe DiMaggio: A Hero's Life by Richard Ben Cramer, where she is described as a barely-functioning child-woman whose dog would wet on the white carpet, and she wouldn't know what to do.

Thus I was unprepared to discover that not only is her performance great, but Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot is, in fact, hot.  Bewilderingly hot. Stunningly, jaw-droppingly, I'd-like-to-watch-the-movie-without-my-wife-around hot.  Monroe effortlessly oozes sexuality, aided by a bevy of costumes designed to be near-pornographic to the mind, but tame enough to get past the 1950s Production Code (indeed, it won an Oscar for costume design).

Yes, it's also a funny movie (Tony Curtis riffing as Cary Grant stands out).  Yes, it helped topple the Production Code.  Yes, it's considered to be one of top comedies of all time--if not the best comedy of all time, as feted by the AFI. And yes, it is About Something.  But those are all but icy tips on large mountains compared to the shakes and shimmies of its female star.

On this day of thanks, where we marvel at soft breast and tender thigh... won't you compliment your turkey with Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot?

2 comments:

  1. Greatest ending line ever...
    "Aw, I'm a boy"
    "Nobody's perfect!"
    Brilliant

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    1. Pretty earth-shattering for its day!

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