DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Some Like it Hot (1959) - Blu-ray Review

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Some Like it Hot - Blu-ray Review

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5 Stars

It’s hard to conceive in this era of remake-itus that some re-dos in the history of cinema go on to become classics in their own right. For genre fans, John Carpenter’s The Thing is often cited as a prime example. For comedy, however, Billy Wilder’s beloved cross-dressing romp, Some Like It Hot, takes the cake for a remake that became one of the most enduring classics of all time.

Set in 1929, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis star as two hapless musicians who have the misfortune of witnessing the Saint Valentine’s Day mob hit. Desperate to hide from their would-be killers, they decide to disguise themselves as dames and go on tour with an all-girl band. With complications ranging from the mob arriving to stay at the hotel their playing, and Curtis’s character trying to woo a gal named sugar (Marilyn Monroe in one of her most celebrated roles), a crazy and unending bunch of situations keep threatening to slip them up and put them six feet under.

This film is considered one of the funniest films of all time, and while it has no problem tickling anyone’s funny bone, fifty plus years have passed, a lot of the jokes have been stolen in the decades since then, and some of the references are a little outmoded for a modern audience. This is not to suggest time has diminished the pitch-perfect execution, tight scripting, and flawless final product—simply to recognize this was made a long time ago.

The film was originally set to be filmed in colour, but due to the unusual green tint of Lemmon and Curtis’s makeup, the decision to shoot black and white won the day. Even in penguin colours, Marilyn Monroe is stunning (and was pregnant at the time, which makes this reviewer wonder if her condition didn’t give her a little extra glow). Curtis infamously said kissing her was like kissing Hitler, but you won’t find any such distaste in him on screen—their chemistry is magic.

This film also had the distinction of being one of the first films to usher in a new era of film away from the old production code, much to the chagrin of the National Legion of Decency. It never received an MPAA rating, was deemed indecent by the aforementioned group—which is rather laughable, considering what followed soon after—and seems positively tame by modern standards. But unlike a lot of modern films, its wit is razor sharp, edgy in a playful way instead of sensationalism, and still very funny.

This has deservedly earned its infamy in cinematic history, both on and off the screen. Some Like It Hot may be a comedy of yore, but its jokes still work so well that they’re stolen today. From flawless performances, direction, and everything in between, you are missing out if you haven’t seen it.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Some Like it Hot - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: This title has not been rated by the MPAA.
Runtime: 120 mins.
Director
: Billy Wilder
Writer
: Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
Cast: Marilyn Monroe; Tony Curtis; Jack Lemmon; George Raft; Joe E. Brown
Genre
: Comedy | Classic
Tagline:
The movie too HOT for words!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop."
Distributor:
United Artists
Home Video Distributor:
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Official Site:
Theatrical Release Date:
March 29, 1959
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 10, 2011

Synopsis: When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.

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Some Like it Hot - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie
 
Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars
 
3 Stars
     
Blu-ray Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 10, 2011
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Cantonese, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono; French: DTS 5.1; Italian: DTS 5.1; German: DTS 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono; Russian: DTS 5.1; Catalan: DTS 5.1; Czech: Dolby Digital Mono; Hungarian: Dolby Digital Mono; Polish: Dolby Digital Mono; Thai: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Playback: Region Free

This has not been given a full restoration, like say Psycho was, but this 1080p AVC encode picture is a solid and consistent effort from MGM. There are some signs of print defects, like speckles, dirt/scratches (very seldom and small); the picture is mostly clean but a little on the soft side, with night scenes presenting flaws the easiest. Contrast is good; detailed shadows help give the picture dimension. The original mono soundtrack has been given a modern day adaptation with a DTS-HD 5.1 mix that wonderfully expands what was already there to immerse you in the boy’s crazy adventure. Scenes on stage in the club are the most impressive. This is not a rear heavy mix, but in those scenes, you easily feel like you’re in the room. It added a level of connection for this reviewer. There are a couple of decent featurettes that explore the making of the film, but nothing in the way of contemporary offerings—all in standard definition—and one of those shitty composite commentary tracks that don’t do it for me. Passable but hardly worthy of a cinematic great; I wonder if a masterpiece version might not come down the tube in the years to come?

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Feature-length composite commentary track with Paul Diamond Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. With spliced in commentary from Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Nothing From Wilder.

Special Features:

  • The Making of Some Like It Hot
  • The Legacy of Some Like It Hot
  • Nostalgic Look Back Documentary
  • Memories from the Sweet Sues Featurette
  • Virtual Hall of Memories
  • Theatrical Trailer

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