Reel Classics

Some Like It Hot: Criterion Collection (1959) - Blu-ray Review

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Some Like It Hot: Criterion Collection

It’s hard to conceive in this era of remakes that some redos 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.

"unlike a lot of modern films, its wit is razor sharp, edgy in a playful way instead of sensationalism, and still very funny"


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 they're 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, sixty 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.Some Like It Hot: Criterion Collection

The film was originally set to be filmed in color, 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 colors, 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.

Some Like It Hot is a true REEL CLASSIC.  It is now on blu-ray thanks to the Criterion Collection with a glorious NEW 4K digital restoration and the original uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.

5/5 stars

Some Like It Hot: Criterion Collection

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Criterion
Available on Blu-ray
- November 20, 2018
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
LPCM Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

One of the most beloved films of all time, this sizzling masterpiece by Billy Wilder set a new standard for Hollywood comedy. After witnessing a mob hit, Chicago musicians Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, in landmark performances) skip town by donning drag and joining an all-female band en route to Miami. The charm of the group’s singer, Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe, at the height of her bombshell powers) leads them ever further into extravagant lies, as Joe assumes the persona of a millionaire to woo her and Jerry’s female alter ego winds up engaged to a tycoon. With a whip-smart script by Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond, and sparking chemistry among its finely tuned cast, Some Like It Hot is as deliriously funny and fresh today as it was when it first knocked audiences out six decades ago.

Video:

With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, Criterion’s 4K handling of this comedic masterpiece is impressive as new details in costumes are revealed.  There is a new depth to the picture, too.  The shadows are deeper and stronger as an acetate 35mm duplicate negative was used as a primary source for scanning in 4K to create the highest picture quality possible.  There are so many new details to decipher thanks to this 1080p transfer.  And, as original documents from the film’s director were followed during the restoration, the new transfer more accurately reflects what he was intending the picture to look and feel like.  

Audio:

The original uncompressed monaural soundtrack is included with a dialogue-centered and direct Dolby TrueHD Mono mix

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is an audio commentary from 1989 featuring film scholar Howard Suber.

Special Features:

Once again, Criterion delivers the goods for cinephiles to dive into with looks into the wardrobes of Lemmon, Curtis, Monroe, behind the scenes documentaries, a discussion about the movie with Curtis and Leonard Maltin, an interview with Lemmon, and a 1955 interview with Monroe.  A trailer and an essay by author Sam Wasson is also included.

  • New short program on Orry-Kelly’s costumes for the film, featuring costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis and costume historian and archivist Larry McQueen
  • Three behind-the-scenes documentaries
  • Appearances by director Billy Wilder on The Dick Cavett Show from 1982
  • Conversation from 2001 between actor Tony Curtis and film critic Leonard Maltin
  • French television interview from 1988 with actor Jack Lemmon
  • Radio interview from 1955 with actor Marilyn Monroe 
  • Trailer

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  5/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

5/5 stars

Some Like It Hot: Criterion Collection

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
121 mins
Director
: Billy Wilder
Writer:
Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Cast:
Stanley Shapiro; Paul Henning; Dale Launer; Jac Schaeffer
Genre
: Comedy
Tagline:
The movie too HOT for words!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I had no idea how small time I was until I met you."
Theatrical Distributor:
MGM
Official Site: https://www.thehustle.movie/
Release Date:
May 10, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 20, 2019.
Synopsis: I don't care how rich he is, as long as he has a yacht, his own private railroad car, and his own toothpaste.

Some Like It Hot: Criterion Collection

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