7 things I love about Some Like It Hot (1959)

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Ah, Some Like It Hot. Who doesn’t love Some Like It Hot? In fact, I’d go as far as to say that very few movies are as universally beloved as this. And why not? It’s simply perfect, in my opinion. It’s my 5th favorite film of all time and it has remained firmly in the top 5 since the first time I watched it. And while I love absolutely everything about it, I thought I’d share with you 7 of my most favorite things.

– The song ‘Runnin’ Wild’. I love, love, love that song! In fact, I love all the songs in it (‘Down Among The Sheltering Palms’ is just beyond lovely), but Runnin’ Wild is upbeat, crazy and fun, like the film itself.

– The chemistry between Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. One of the greatest trios in movies history. They feed off each other brilliantly and all three of them are at the top of their game.

– The name Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators. I mean, how great is that?

– The ‘party’ on the train. It is so wacky, you just want to join in!

– Jack Lemmon and Joe E. Brown doing the tango. Always cracks me up!

– The scenes on the yacht. Hot and adorable, at the same time.

– The fact that when it’s over, you want to watch it again. It’s such a feel-good movie! It’s one of the movies that you can watch over and over again and never tire of it. It just makes you feel so happy and cosy!

 

Here’s to Some Like It Hot, the ultimate desert island movie!

 

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DOUBLE BILL #7: Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956)

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John Ford and John Wayne. One of cinema’s greatest and most celebrated director-actor partnerships. They made dozens of films together and they were one helluva team. For this Double Bill, I’ve decided to talk about their first major film together, Stagecoach (1939), and the one that’s usually considered to be their best, The Searchers (1956).

Stagecoach follows the troubled journey of a group of people on their way to Lordsburg, New Mexico. Alcoholic doctor Doc Boone (Thomas Mitchell in an Oscar-winning performance), prostitute Dallas (Claire Trevor), prim and proper Mrs Mallory (Louise Platt), gambler Hatfield (John Carradine), alcohol salesman Mr Peacock (Donald Meek), and their stagecoach drivers Buck (Andy Devine) and Curly (George Bancroft) leave their town of Tonto and head towards Lordsburg, knowing they will most definitely encounter the Geronimo gang. Somewhere along the way, the Ringo Kid (John Wayne in his breakthrough role) makes their acquaintance – in one of cinema’s most spectacular entrances – and jumps on board. Off they go…

Here we have this group of people who probably wouldn’t have met or bonded otherwise, bound together through necessity and in a very confined place, no less, and we get to watch them slowly opening up to each other. Doc and Dallas, in particular, also share a bond because of the fact that they were kicked out of town due to prejudice and intrigue, instigated by the town’s women. I love that. I love the fact that Stagecoach is about the relationships. That’s what’s so interesting to watch. A group of outcasts forced to leave town forming unlikely relationships with each other. Think of it as Grand Hotel (1932) meets Street Scene (1931) on horseback.

Seventeen years later, we have The Searchers. It starts off with – you know what’s coming – one of the most iconic shots ever. I know it’s been talked about endlessly, but you can’t deny it, it’s just majestic. As the door opens, we welcome our hero. Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) is back. But not for long. Soon after he returns home, a raid takes place while he led away from his house. He comes back to find his family has been killed and his nieces Debbie (Natalie Wood) and Lucy (Pippa Scott) have been kidnapped. Ethan, Brad Jorgensen (Harry Carey Jr) and Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter) set out to find them, no matter what it takes. Our journey begins along with theirs…

The Searchers is emotional. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s compelling. We care about the characters. We recognize their flaws and we understand their actions and emotions. We’re with them throughout, and we’re rooting for them the whole time. And despite the emotional roller-coaster it puts you through, the ending is entirely satisfying, albeit bittersweet. And it will make you cry, believe me.

I like a Western with a heart and a conscience. Stagecoach and The Searchers have them in spades. Both of them could fit into the category of ‘Western for people who don’t like Westerns’ and that’s ok. It’s not a cliche, it’s true. And when you’re talking about John Ford and John Wayne, you know you’re in good hands.

Giving films a second chance…

Lately, I’ve been re-watching movies I didn’t particularly like when I first saw them, because I like to give movies a second chance. I don’t like it when I don’t like a movie. I know it’s weird, but I just feel bad about it. And because Noirvember is coming, this month I will be re-watching noirs I didn’t particularly like for whatever reason, as well as noirs I DID like and want to watch again. I watched Detour (1945) two nights ago, because it had been about six years since I last saw it and I didn’t particularly love it then, but having watched it again, it’s grown on me. It’s got some of the best lines in noir history (in particular, the last line) and Vera (Ann Savage) is a fantastic villain and, to use an expression I despise, ahead of her time.  She’s just great. It’s quite na impressive film and I can’t believe I didn’t think much of it when I first saw it. What was I thinking? See, this is what I’m talking about. These things get to me on a personal level.

Anyway, can’t wait for Noirvember!