Some Like it Hot

Some Like it Hot Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

The "Fuzzy End of the Lollipop" (Symbol)

The "lollipop" is a recurring metaphor invoked by Sugar Kane to describe how life has treated her poorly. She tells "Josephine" that she always gets "the fuzzy end of the lollipop," which means that she always has bad luck in her life, whether it's falling for the wrong man, or always being the one to get in trouble in Sweet Sue's band. The "fuzzy end of the lollipop" contrasts with the "sweet end of the lollipop," which represents good luck and the sweetness that life has to offer. Sugar's name is also an allusion to the sweet things in life, and she has the personality to match.

At the end, Joe tries to discourage Sugar from coming with him, because he is not actually the millionaire that he's pretended to be, and he tells her, "Go back to where the millionaires are, the sweet end of the lollipop, not the cole slaw in the face, the old socks and the squeezed-out tube of toothpaste." By now, however, she doesn't mind that he's not a millionaire, and she wants to stay with him. While the "sweet end of the lollipop" is initially associated with marrying a wealthy man, by the end, Sugar realizes that marrying for love is sweeter than anything.

The Elevator Floor Indicator Arrow (Symbol)

When Osgood first meets "Daphne," she tries to get away from him by getting on an elevator, but he follows her on. The doors close and we do not see what happens, but we do see the arrow on the outside of the elevator that indicates which floor it has reached. The arrow goes up to the second floor, before immediately coming back down. "Daphne" emerges from the elevator back on the first floor, appalled with Osgood's behavior on the elevator—he has allegedly pinched her. Instead of showing the sexually charged moment, director Billy Wilder turns the elevator floor indicator into a kind of sexually-charged symbol, representing Osgood's arousal and then his subsequent deflation when "Daphne" rebukes his advancements. The actions are unseen, but the symbolic significance of the arrow communicates a lot to the audience.

The Yacht (Symbol)

The yacht that is owned by Osgood, but used by Joe to seduce Sugar under the pretense of being the heir to an oil dynasty, comes to symbolize the "sweet end of the lollipop" that Sugar thinks she has finally found. The yacht is a symbol of extreme wealth, and serves to communicate to Sugar that "Junior" is filthy rich. It represents the fact that "Junior" has quite a lot of money and knows how to live in style and luxury. Sugar is overwhelmed by the boat and how beautiful it is, and is enchanted to imagine herself aboard it with the object of her affection. In this way, the yacht symbolizes both the extreme wealth that Sugar so desires, but also Joe's deception, his pretensions towards being a wealthier man than he actually is.

Cross-dressing (Motif)

It is almost so constant throughout the film that it doesn't even seem like a motif, but cross-dressing is a major and rather obvious motif in the film. Joe and Jerry go through many transformations and struggle to keep their many characters straight while visiting Florida, but they come back time and time again to cross-dressing. Cross-dressing is a way for them to escape the vengeful wrath of the mob, but it is also a way to get closer to a group of attractive women, to explore different sides of their identities, and to loosen up. Jerry enjoys cross-dressing so much that he completely forgets he is doing it, and imagines that he is a woman, accepting Osgood's proposal of marriage and celebrating it with Joe. At the end of the film, after having abandoned their drag personas, Joe and Jerry again become "Daphne" and "Josephine" in order to elude Little Bonaparte and get Osgood to pick them up on the docks and take them to his yacht. Cross-dressing serves as a shield for the characters, an opportunity to hide, but also an opportunity to learn about identity and gender.

Jazz (Motif)

Jazz is a recurring motif throughout the film. When we first meet Joe and Jerry, they are playing in a jazz band at a speakeasy. Jazz represents the underground nightlife, the "hot" antidote to classical music, a genre of music in which people loosen up and unleash their more sexual and uninhibited side. Later, having witnessed the massacre, Joe and Jerry's only way out of town is to dress up like women and join an all-female jazz band, Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators. They play jazz music, while Sugar Kane, the voluptuous lead singer, sings seductively for her audience. Speaking of Sugar, in the beginning of the film, whenever she enters, a scratchy horn riff plays, a reference to jazz that is meant to establish her as a sexually inviting and appealing character. When Sugar asks "Junior" if he likes jazz, he tells her that "some like it hot; I prefer classical." Jazz is associated with heat and sexual impropriety; the film is set in the 1920s after all, when liquor was illegal, vice ruled, and jazz was just coming into prominence.