Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Some Like it Hot- Screwball Comedy!

Some Like it Hot is a 1959 screwball comedy directed by Billy Wilder. In the story Joe and Jerry, two musicians, lose there current gig due to some sketchy business dealings. Witnessing the killings of some men due to a gangster group, Joe and Jerry are on the run and discover there is only one way to escape: the one job available is a girls only gig in Florida, so they both decide to pretend to be women. Joe and Jerry, in their female states, befriend the beautiful singer Sugar. Falling in love or having people fall in love with them, Joe and Jerry find themselves in very crazy mixed up situations while trying to hide themselves from the gangster group. Some Like it Hot incorporates the screwball comedy elements of having male central characters whose "masculinity is challenged" / having mistaken identities, trying to keep a secret and mismatched relationships.

Male central characters whose "masculinity is challenged" / mistaken identities / characters trying to keep a secret

When Jerry suggests the idea to Joe that they should dress up as women in order to get the job, Joe is at first very resilient. But then, triggered by the fact that they are being pursued by the gangster group, Joe realizes that this may be the only way. This whole scenario is a great example of both the aspects of a screwball comedy where a central character (in this case two) has his "masculinity challenged" and the aspect of having mistaken identities. The theme of mistaken identities leads Jerry and Joe into some crazy situations. For instance, later on Joe, in order to win the heart of Sugar, pretends to be a rich millionaire heiress to a famous oil company, while Sugar lies and pretends to be something she is not in order to get Joe.

Another major aspect to screwball comedies is having characters who struggle to conceal a secret. While pretending to be this rich man, Joe is keeping the secret from Sugar that he is actually not only not rich, but additionally he is Josephine. On top of that, Jack and Joe continuously struggle to hide the fact that they are not actually women. For one, if people find out they are men, they will lose their jobs. Two, their secret identities help protect them from the gangsters. If their secret is revealed, the gangsters will have a much easier time of finding them.

Marriage to the rich /  mismatched relationships  

Sugar wants to marry Joe not really because of his personality, but rather, because he is rich. Alongside this, Osgood would like to marry Daphne. We know that Daphne is actually Jerry, but due to the fact that Osgood is filthy rich, Jerry, in a money daze, fantasizes about the amazing possibilities. Both of these "relationships" showcase the screwball comedy theme of characters marrying people who are rich.

The boy working at the hotel has a little crush on Josephine. This is obviously quite the mismatched dynamic. He is, what? 14? And Josephine looks like she is 40. This running joke is a great example of the screwball comedy theme of mismatched relationships.


Some Like it Hot is a hilarious screwball comedy film that will keep you wondering how on earth Joe and Jerry will get through this whole situation? Will they be able to keep their identities a secret? How will things turn out between Joe and Sugar? How will things turn out between Daphne and Osgood? All of these questions stem from the absurd situations that will only occur in a screwball comedy film! Watch it! 

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