Combustible Celluloid
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With: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Nehemiah Persoff, Joan Shawlee, Billy Gray, George E. Stone, Dave Barry
Written by: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, based on a story by Robert Thoeren, Michael Logan
Directed by: Billy Wilder
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 120
Date: 29/03/1959

Some Like It Hot (1959)

4 Stars (out of 4)

Nobody's Perfect

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It's hard to believe that Marilyn Monroe would have been 75 years old this week had she lived past that fateful day in August of 1962. You just can't picture the cinema's most glamorous actress as old and gray. For us, she's forever blonde, smooth, voluptuous, with a kind of giggly coo for a voice. More books have been written about Monroe than some U.S. Presidents, mostly about her tragic life and her personal misery. But when you watch her joyous persona bursting on screen, you don't want to believe these heartbreaking stories. You want to remember her as the Goddess.

To help us remember, MGM has released a new DVD of perhaps Monroe's greatest film. Voted by the American Film Institute as the greatest American comedy of the 20th century, Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot (1959, MGM/UA Video, $24.98) contains a marvelous, ertoically explosive Monroe performance. Bearing the name Sugar Kane and purring such lines as "I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop," Monroe steals the screen from even Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon dressed in drag. The movie was once daring, and now it's just brilliantly funny -- and still sexy.

Though Wilder is still around today, neither he nor Jack Lemmon contributed any commentary to the disc. But Curtis participates in a priceless half-hour sit-down interview with critic Leonard Maltin and reveals some down-and-dirty secrets behind the film. Members of Sweet Sue's band also turn up, remembering a more pleasing version of Monroe. But even without the extras, this is one essential American movie.

The above was written in 2001 for the initial DVD release of the film; in 2011, MGM and Fox released a Blu-Ray with most of the same extras; it looks glorious in high-def, the picture filling up a widescreen TV.

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