Some Like It Hot

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Synopsis

When Chicago musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) accidentally witness a gangland shooting, they quickly board a south bound train to Florida, disguised as Josephine and Daphne, the two newestand homeliest members of an all-girl jazz band. Their cover is perfect... until a love lorn singer (Marilyn Monroe) falls for Josephine, an ancient playboy (Joe E. Brown) falls for Daphne, and a mob boss (George Raft) refuses to fall for their hoax! Nominated* for 6 Academy Awards®, Some Like It Hot is the quintessential madcap farce and one of the greatest of all film comedies.

Picture 7/10

Some Like it Hot comes to Blu-ray from MGM/FOX in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on a dual-layer disc in a new 1080p/24hz video transfer.

Though it may be open to a few improvements I was still very pleased with the presentation we receive here. It’s consistently sharp and fine details do pop when the source allows for it, though some longer shots aren’t as sharp. Contrast looks spot on, with deep blacks and clean gray levels.

The source still shows some wear and tear. Grain is present and can get a little heavy here and there but it at least looks natural. There’s some slight pulsating scattered about, some minor blemishes, and what looks to be the remnants of some possible stains, but these problems aren’t distracting and shouldn’t impede one’s viewing experience. Still, it’s the best I’ve yet seen it.

Audio 7/10

Unfortunately we only get the remixed 5.1 track and not the original mono. Still, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 presentation is fine, if distracting at times. Unlike another remix I just heard, the one for the new Blu-ray of The Manchurian Candidate, the mix here is better presenting clearer dialogue that isn’t drowned out by some of the effects. Still, some of the surround effects, which is limited to music, crowds, and some background effects, it doesn’t always sound natural and can sound a little forced. I would have preferred the mono track but it’s at least a clear presentation and easy to hear.

Extras 7/10

The supplements from MGM’s DVD special edition get ported over starting with the audio commentary featuring Paul Diamond (son of I.A.L. Diamond), and screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Audio segments from interviews with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon (recorded separately) are also edited in. The group portion is loose and fun with the three pointing out their favourite moments, analyzing why they are and why the humour in the film still works to this day. Diamond offers up some anecdotes that I assume were passed on by his father, but the more first-hand accounts come from the portions featuring Lemmon and Curtis, Curtis receiving more airtime than Lemmon. Everyone, though, loves to talk about Monroe, Curtis especially. Though it may be a little too loose at times it’s a fun track and still filled with good information.

Next is a 26-minute Making of which gathers together new and archival interviews with such participants as Billy Wilder, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Barbara and I.A.L Diamond, as well as others. Through these interviews and some behind-the-scenes footage (some of which is in colour, which inadvertently shows that Wilder was right in his decision in making the film in black and white—he feared the drag would look awful in colour) we’re presented with the production history of the film from its inception, to casting, to filming, and then its release. There’s also a lot of information about the difficulties that came with working with Marilyn Monroe, Wilder expressing a lot of his frustrations here. It repeats plenty of material found in the commentary) but it’s a strong documentary worth watching.

The Legacy of Some Like it Hot is a 20-minute featurette more or less about the influence of the film and its growth in popularity over the years, along with its initial reception and, of course, Marilyn Monroe’s part in making it a success. Here you find more interview clips of Curtis, Lemmon, Wilder, and others featured in the previous feature, plus interviews with Hugh Hefner and director Curtis Hanson, the latter recalling when he got to meet Billy Wilder. Not overly analytical but it’s a fun feature looking at what elements made the film the success it has become.

Following this is an interview with Tony Curtis by Leonard Maltin, called A Nostalgic Look Back. Running 31-minutes it more or less covers the same material in the making-of (Curtis’s segments in that previous doc were actually lifted from here so that material gets repeated again.) He goes into more detail about some of the difficulties that came with working with Monroe, and he of course talks about Lemmon and working in drag. While it is a little repetitive it is nice to get a firsthand look at the making of the movie and Curtis is a strong interview subject.

Memories of the Sweet Sue’s is a cute addition, gathering together the surviving women from the all-girl band in the film. For 12-minutes the group talks about their memories from the shoot while watching the film or looking at old pictures, what it was like working with Marilyn Monroe, which again could prove difficult. They also speak fondly of Lemmon, Curtis, Wilder, and some of the other girls that were in the group.

Virtual Hall of Memories is a sort of bizarre addition and difficult to explain fully but in the end all it really is is a souped up photo gallery. For 21-minutes we view some of the more famous moments from the film, mixed in with production and behind-the-scene photos with sections devoted to Monroe, Curtis, Lemmon, and Wilder. It’s actually an obnoxious presentation and I think I would have preferred a straight forward gallery you could navigate through.

The disc then closes with the 2-minute theatrical trailer.

Though the supplements as a whole can maybe feel a little fluffy I have to say I still enjoyed going through them (other than the gallery). It was obviously a fun film to make and that carries through everything found here.

Closing

The image is open to improvement but I still find the image pleasing and the audio at least acceptable (really wish they included the mono track.) The supplements are also fun and informative, rounding out the release nicely.

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Directed by: Billy Wilder
Year: 1959
Time: 121 min.
 
Series: MGM
Release Date: May 10 2011
MSRP: $19.99
 
Blu-ray
1 Disc | BD-50
1.66:1 ratio
Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono
French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
English 5.1 DTS-HD MA Surround
Subtitles: English
Region A
 
 Audio Commentary featuring interviews with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and commentary by Paul Diamond, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel   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   Original Theatrical Trailer