This marvelous good time of a movie is one of the first I remember falling in love with. We rented it on a Friday night at the behest of my dad and it was pure magic.
Everything, from the perfect comic timing to Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon’s shockingly fantastic drag to Marilyn Monroe’s deliciously sweet performance felt just right. It was the first screwball comedy I’d ever seen, a late one at that, and it seemed perfectly engineered to elicit peals of laughter.
I’m not sure that I was aware of the complex gender and sexual politics at the time. Maybe some little part of me appreciated the Shakespearean entanglements and risk at play. But now I am astounded at how well it all holds up. Throughout the film we suspend our disbelief, allowing ourselves the chance to identify with Daphne and Josephine alongside their male-presenting counterparts, understanding how they could get swept up in the charade and take something valuable–perhaps a better understanding of women, perhaps more sensitivity—away from the situation.
One bit moment later in the film strikes me as particularly prescient. Though it’s brief, an exchange between Joe (Curtis) and Daphne (Lemmon) alludes to the notion that, given millionaire Osgood Fielding’s proposal of marriage, Daphne could be quite happy settling down with him—if only for the money. Still, despite the not-quite-evolved attitude (it was 1959 and I’m amazed much of this film got into theaters at all), Lemmon plays it so convincingly that we feel like he may just be in love with another man.
Here’s a brief excerpt of the dialogue:
“Jerry you can’t be serious.”
“Why not? He keeps marryin’ girls all the time!”
“But you’re not a girl, you’re a guy. And why would a guy wanna marry a guy?”
Perfection. Hell, that’s the pragmatic fiscal argument for same-sex marriage now. You know, along with love and all that.
Check out the clip below! And leave a comment if you’re hot for Some Like It Hot, too.