Saturday, May 13, 2017

Script review - "Some Like It Hot" by Billy Wilder and IAL Diamond

Such great fun. You remember the visuals of this film - Marilyn Monroe and her ukelele, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in drag, but they leap off the brilliant scaffolding of the script. It has a fantastic setting of the late 1920s - gangster, prohibition, St Valentine's Day Massacre. The version of the script I read didn't actually specify "sequences" but you can see Wilder using a sequence method
A - set up of the two leads seeing a murder and fleeing to Miami as girls
B - on the train, meeting Sugar, finding out about her
C - arriving in Florida, Osgood falls for Jerry, Joe starts to pursue Sugar
D - extended sequence of Joe pretending to be millionaire seducing Sugar while Jerry dances with Osgood
E -the guys decide to leave as the gangsters turn up.

The first four acts are so strong it was a surprise (and didn't really matter) that Wilder muffs the last one - it's a bit convenient the gangsters are having a convention at that hotel, and that another gangster wants to kill Spats. Why make this decision? Why not just have some gangster identify them and tell Spats, and have Spats killed while trying to get the boys?

But like I say it doesn't really matter... the situations are strong and the jokes clever. Wilder/Diamond incorporate things that pay off beautifully - like Osgood having a yacht, and giving Jerry and engagement present which Joe gives to sugar. I love the pop culture references like "I've got Rudy Vallee records".

The character of Sugar is a real dimwit - I give her and Joe maybe a month before he betrays her. But at least she acts consistently. Osgood and Jerry make a much better couple. The sexual harrasment and other things women have to endure, and their camaraderie, is very well depicted. A great read.

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