Monday, March 29, 2010

Pop History Moment: "Some Like It Hot" Premieres

On this day in 1959 the movie Some Like It Hot had its world premiere in Hollywood; directed by Billy Wilder and starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe, it was hailed as a classic from the start. Just for good measure, the Catholic Legion of Decency slapped it with a C (for 'Condemned') rating, ensuring massive attendance.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketOriginally intended as a colour film (which Monroe would have preferred) it was later decided to film it in black & white to conceal a greenish pallor from the makeup worn by the male leads. The result is a visual splendour to match the utter verve of the script and the amazing onscreen chemistry of the actors.

During its production stories about onset antics filled the celebrity press, not all of them positive; as good as Marilyn was when she was good, when she was bad she was worse, and Wilder apparently had to harangue her into take after take to say the simplest line: 'Bourbon?'. On the positive side, a location shoot at the Hotel Del Coronado generated a huge amount of buzz for the movie.

Good gossip or bad, none of that mattered as the film unspooled that night, and a captivated audience became the first in history to witness what, in 2000, the American Film Institute named the greatest American comedy film of all time.
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