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Catherine Horowitz

28 November 2014
Cinematic Analysis (Some Like It Hot)
Some Like It Hot is a 1959 film that is considered by many to be an enduring cinematic
treasure (Tucan, onemovieblog.blogspot.com) and one of the great screwball comedies (Boeder,
classicfilm.about.com). Despite its comedic tone, the film also incorporates darker aspects from other
film genres and examines issues involving stereotypes and gender conventions. Some Like It Hot is
extremely ahead of its time (Tucan), demonstrated by its theme: that stepping out of ones shoes
can cause ones opinions and actions to change for the better. At the start of the film, two musicians
named Jerry and Joe witness a mob massacre seven people. They run for their lives, and disguise
themselves as women in order to join an all-female band bound for Miami. On the train to Miami,
they befriend the lead singer of the band, Sugar. Joe takes on another disguise as a millionaire in
order to woo Sugar, while an actual millionaire, Osgood, shows interest in Jerry. Joe and Sugar have
a romantic night on Osgoods yacht while Jerry and Osgood go tangoing. The next morning, Jerry
explains that Osgood has proposed to him and that he plans to accept in order to receive a large
amount of money to fall back on. Joe explains why this is a bad idea. The two men also experience
the harsh treatment that women must endure, causing Joe to treat Sugar with more respect than he
treated his previous girlfriend. Meanwhile, the hotel they are staying in holds a conference for a
group of mobsters disguised as the Friends of the Italian Opera. Included in this group are
members of the gang who carried out the massacre that Joe and Jerry witnessed. Realizing that they
have to quit the band and flee for their lives, Joe and Jerry plan to escape with Osgood in his yacht.
Before he leaves, Joe kisses Sugar at the end of one of her performances, and she decides to escape
with him, despite his warning her that he is not good enough for her. Jerry, on the other hand, tries to
persuade Osgood to break off their engagement. When none of his excuses work, he rips off his wig
and reveals that Im a man! Osgood responds with the iconic line, Well, nobodys perfect.

Catherine Horowitz
28 November 2014
Some Like It Hot is set in the 1920s, a time period often associated with gang violence
and the near collapse of American society (framingrhetoric.blogspot.com). These associations
make the plot of the movie fit in well with its setting. Billy Wilder, the films director, has
explained that he selected the time period he did because it made the plot seem more believable,
and that the wild, anything goes 20s outlook made the films situations more realistic
(framingrhetoric.blogspot.com). Wilder also uses real events from the time period as plot
devices. For example, the two main characters witness Saint Valentines Day Massacre of 1929,
and are caught by the mobsters involved with the massacre. The use of real events and the
similarities between the films tone and associations with the time period in which it is set make
Some Like It Hot an extremely believable exhibition of the 1920s.
Some Like It Hot was released in 1959, a time when gender issues were a prevalent
controversy. Throughout the movie, the two main characters experience the treatment that
women receive in their everyday lives. They strongly dislike this treatment, and begin to see
women in a new light. Joe even treats Sugar, his girlfriend, with much more respect than he
treated women at the start of the film. The 1950s were also associated with social repression in
terms of homosexuality and transgender-related issues. The relationship between Jerry and
Osgood generated a great deal of confusion when the film was released. In the final scene of the
movie, Jerry reveals that he is a man, only to find that Osgood is infuriatingly understanding
and accommodating (Kerr, girlfridayfilms.wordpress.com). Critics, and anyone else who
analyzed movies, were left with the biggest headache (Kerr): was this the first gay relationship
in mainstream Hollywood?

Catherine Horowitz
28 November 2014
The first preview of Some Like It Hot played to a conservative, middle-aged crowd, and
ended in disaster. When it was released, the National Legion of Decency condemned it as
morally objectionable, claiming it promoted homosexuality, lesbianism and transvestitism
(Kerr). The film was even banned in Kansas, and given an adults-only rating in Memphis,
Tennessee. With younger, more liberal crowds, however, the movie was immensely popular.
Since sexual and gender-related issues were already such a large part of society in the 1950s,
young audiences eagerly accepted and related to the edgy themes it included. It is almost
shocking to learn that this movie was so radical at the time it was released, considering the fact
that it is now a beloved classic. Clearly, Some Like It Hot was extremely mature and forwardthinking for its time, and because of this was treated differently than it would have been if it had
been made today.

Catherine Horowitz
28 November 2014
(Evaluate the impact of the movie on American culture and society OR its significance in
the development of the film industry.)
The edginess and controversial topics featured in Some Like It Hot brought it immense
success, and paved the way for the more explicit and frank films of the 1960s (Kerr). In the
21st century, films like Some Like It Hot would be considered mild and unspectacular. It is
because of this movie, and other movies like it, that cinema has evolved and begun to tackle
social topics, edgy themes, and issues that need attention. Some Like It Hot was such a cultural
milestone that the American Film Institute ranked it the 14th best film ever made (www.afi.com).
There have also been film and stage adaptations of the movie, such as the Broadway musical
Sugar, and the 2004 film White Chicks. Lastly, the final line of the movie, Well, nobodys
perfect, has been quoted time and again in the 55 years since it was first heard in theaters.
Some Like It Hot is an extremely important film in cinema history not only because of its
edginess, but because of its relatability. In a time when women were not given much attention in
cinema or real life, this movie brought to light the harassment and hardships they face in their
daily lives in a funny, entertaining way, causing immediate attention from them. The movie is
also extremely funny, with some film associations ranking it as the funniest movie of all time.
The comedy, however, is combined with violence, danger, and other dark tones in order to create
a combination of elements that people were attracted to in the 1950s, and are still attracted to
now. The characters are flawed, complex individuals with a multitude of different, sometimes
contradictory facets, positive and negative, male and female (Tucan), making them much more
relatable. Finally, people have been able to interpret the film in any way they like. Members of
the LGBTQ community still cite it as a representation of early films covering topics of

Catherine Horowitz
28 November 2014
homosexuality, and several essays have been written about its significance in terms of these
issues. People have also argued that it enforces heterosexuality, and is an exhibition of a
heterosexual dystopia (Carver, palgrave-journals.com). Women cherish it as an early feminist
film, and other women criticize it for objectifying lead actresses bodies during some scenes. The
issues covered by Some Like It Hot may possibly never stop being debated and interpreted in
different ways, but its cultural significance is clear. At a time when conformity was encouraged
and being different was practically a crime, Some Like It Hot stepped forward and paved the way
for a more accepting and open-minded society.

Catherine Horowitz
28 November 2014
Works Cited
"Masterpiece: Some Like It Hot." Mr. Rapson's Blog. Wordpress, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
"Sex, Gender and Heteronormativity: Seeing Some Like It Hot as a Heterosexual Dystopia."
Palgrave Macmillan. Macmillan, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <http://www.palgravejournals.com/>.
"Some Like It Hot." About Entertainment. About.com, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
"Some Like It Hot." A Personal Guide to Classic Films. Wordpress, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.
"Some Like it Hot in the Context of the 1950s." Framing Rhetoric. Blogger, n.d. Web. 30 Nov.
2014. <http://framingrhetoric.blogspot.com/>.
"Some Like It Hot (1959)." Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company, n.d. Web. 30 Nov.
2014. <http://www.filmsite.org/>.
"Some Like It Hot (1959) Analysis." The One Movie Blog. Blogger, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2014.