At the end of Some Like It Hot (1959) Jerry (Jack Lemmon) lists reasons why his female alter-ego “Daphne” and millionaire Osgood cannot marry. Osgood dismisses them all; he loves Daphne and is determined that they will marry. Exasperated, Jerry removes his wig and shouts, “I’m a man!” Osgood, unfazed, simply responds, “Well, nobody’s perfect.”
Some Like It Hot, shot in glorious black and white is set in 1929. It was directed and produced by Billy Wilder, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Lemmon, with help from George Raft, Pat O’Brien, Joe E. Brown as Osgood Fielding III. The screenplay is by Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond.
The film is about two musicians who dress in drag in order to escape from gangsters whom they witnessed commit murder.
Some Like It Hot is one of the greatest films ever, for me the top comedy of all time. The film received six Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for Lemmon, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Lemmon won the BAFTA, and Lemmon, Monroe and film all won Golden Globes.
The film was produced without approval from the Motion Picture Production Code because it plays around with the idea of gayness and features a lot of cross dressing. Racy stuff for the end of the 1950s. The code had been gradually weakening during starting in the early 1950s, with greater social acceptance of previously taboo topics in film, but it was still officially enforced until the mid-1960s. The overwhelming success of Some Like It Hot is pretty much the movie that finished off the Hays Code.
Last month, the talented Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman told Graham Norton that their new musical stage version will open on Broadway in 2020. I hope they realize that I am available to play Osgood.