Some Like it Hot

My favorite sequence in “Some Like it Hot” is the one where Jack Lemmon (as Daphne) is dancing the tango with his millionaire suitor, Osgood Fielding III, a white rose clenched in his teeth.  You see the couple turn and now Fielding’s got the rose clenched in his teeth. Next thing you know, the rose is tucked behind Fielding’s ear and Daphne’s got him down in a dip.  Olé!

Whether Daphne’s mixing bootleg Manhattans in a hot water bottle for the other girls in the band from her berth on the train to Florida, or fending off Fielding’s advances in the elevator, you can’t take your eyes off Lemmon’s character.  Marilyn Monroe is delightful to watch, and Tony Curtis does a pretty good imitation of Cary Grant when he’s courting her, but Lemmon carries this picture.  He’s having way too much fun in a dress, and when he tells Tony Curtis’s character that he and Fielding are engaged, his comic timing is perfect.

Of course, Fielding gets in the last word.  Our two “girls” are in Fielding’s motorboat, escaping from the mob.  Fielding thinks that he and Daphne are eloping, and Lemmon’s got to tell him the truth:

Daphne: Osgood, I’m gonna level with you.  We can’t get married at all.

Fielding: Why not?

Daphne: Well, in the first place, I’m not a natural blonde.

Fielding: Doesn’t matter.

Daphne: I smoke!  I smoke all the time!

Fielding: I don’t care.

Daphne: Well, I have a terrible past.  For three years now, I’ve been living with a saxophone player.

Fielding: I forgive you.

Daphne: I can never have children!

Fielding: We can adopt some.

Daphne: But you don’t understand, Osgood! (he pulls off his wig)  I’m a man.

Fielding: Well, nobody’s perfect.

(11 April 2011)

The Odd Couple

You can tell that this film was a stage play.  It’s kind of flat, even when the characters venture out of Oscar’s apartment.  The dialogue, to be honest, is not consistently funny, and some of the business is predictable.  But the chemistry between Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and Lemmon’s comic timing (as always) save the day.

Felix Ungar: [serving refreshments at the poker game] Cold glass of beer for Roy…

Roy: Thank you.

Felix Ungar: Where’s your coaster?

Roy: My what?

Felix Ungar: Your coaster. The little round thing that goes under the glass.

Roy: I think I bet it.

Oscar Madison: [tosses the coaster back to Roy] Here, here, here. I knew I was winning too much! Here.

Felix Ungar: Always try to use your coasters, huh, fellas? A scotch and a little bit of water…

Speed: Scotch and a little bit of water and I have my coaster.

Felix Ungar: I don’t want to be a pest, but you know what glasses can do.

Oscar Madison: [under his breath] They leave little rings on the table.

Felix Ungar: They leave little rings on the table!

Oscar Madison: [under his breath] And we don’t want little rings on the table.

The two were first paired in “The Fortune Cookie” and would go on to make more great films together, but nothing matches their performances in this one.  Even the trailer makes me smile.  Jack Klugman and Tony Randall went on to make the tale their own, but if you haven’t seen the original, you don’t know what you’re missing.

(1 October 2011)