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Written by Timothy Sexton
"Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop."
Pity poor Sugar. Of all the girls playing in the all-girl band that forms the centerpiece for the plot of Some Like It Hot, Sugar is the one least likely to ever be confused as a man in drag. Blonde, sexy and naturally drawn to tenor sax players destined to break her heart, the story of Sugar’s short life thus far can be summed up in one of the all-time great movie metaphors for romantic disappointment.
"Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it's a whole different sex!"
The first time we actually see Jerry dressed up as a woman is when he and his best friend Joe show up to catch the train that will take the all-girl band they’ve just been hired onto to Florida for their next engagement. Still trying to acclimate himself to walking in heels, they are passed by a wiggling Sugar Kane who definitely knows how to walk in heels, as Jerry’s observation indicates in a most poetic sort of way. That final bit also serves to set the stage quite nicely for the way film will examine just what it is that makes the sexes so different from each other...if, indeed, they even are that different.
Junior: Syncopators. Does that mean you play that very fast music... jazz?
Sugar: Yeah. Real Hot.
Junior: I guess some like it hot. I personally prefer classical music.
Ding, ding, ding! Here we have a title! Junior is the second false identity taken on by Joe following his witnessing of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Junior talks like Cary Grant and is allegedly the heir to an oil dynasty…not to give anything away, but the oil company in question shares the same name as certain items people collect while walking along the beach. And the beach just so happens to be the setting where the title of the movie is actually named. So, anyone wondering exactly why this film is titled Some Like It Hot need only know that Sugar’s sad life involving a string of tenor sax-playing losers and her dreams of finding a rich heir in Florida collide at the intersection of hot jazz and classical music.
Jerry: Have I got things to tell you!
Joe: What happened?
Jerry: I'm engaged.
Joe: Congratulations. Who's the lucky girl?
Jerry: I am!
Much of the humor that drives the narrative of Some Like It Hot is derived from the comedic complications resulting from Jerry’s female persona of Daphne being the object of the affection of Osgood Fielding. Up until the moment this exchange takes place between Jerry and Joe, Jerry has been decidedly less than thrilled with Osgood’s unwanted attention. This scene represents a major turning point in the point.
Osgood: Which of these instruments do you play?
Daphne: Bow fiddle.
Osgood: Oh, fascinating! Do you use a bow or do you just pluck it?
Daphne: Most of the time, I slap it!
This exchange takes place before Daphne becomes engaged to Osgood. The sly and winkingly lasciviously manner in which Daphne delivers the final line stands as one of the most iconic examples of the highly suggestive wit with which the movie plays around with the politics and humor of sexual relationships.
Osgood: You must be quite a girl.
Daphne: Wanna bet?
Another example of the sly sexually suggestive humor that makes Some Like it Hot one of the all-time classic Hollywood comedies. This quote is yet another in the endless supply of dialogue that proves it is possible to make a hilarious film about sex without resorting to vulgarity and explicit obscenity.
Daphne: Osgood, I'm gonna level with you. We can't get married at all.
Osgood: Why not?
Daphne: Well, in the first place, I'm not a natural blonde.
Osgood: Doesn't matter.
Daphne: I smoke. I smoke all the time.
Osgood: I don't care.
Daphne: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I've been living with a saxophone player.
Osgood: I forgive you.
Daphne: I can never have children.
Osgood: We can adopt some.
Jerry-Daphne: But you don't understand, Osgood. (He whips off his wig, exasperated, and changes to a manly voice.) Uh, I'm a man.
Osgood: Well, nobody's perfect.
This is the final exchange of the dialogue in the film and the very last line ranks in the number 48 spot on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) list of the 100 greatest American movie quotes of the first 100 years of film. The exchange also points to the incredibly sophisticated and even potentially subversive nature of how Some Like it Hot treats the subject of gender and sexuality. That last line may seem merely funny today, but in the 1959 it carried a significant weight in the possibilities of meaning lying within its subtext.
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Some Like it Hot Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Some Like it Hot is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.