The Long Island University Brooklyn Campus Library Media Center Newsletter 


We love movies, among other things.

June 2008, issue 34

"It's not how long it takes, it's who's taking you."  --Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe), Some Like It Hot (1959)

What a Drag It Is

I happened upon the Billy Wilder masterpiece Some Like It Hot (1959) last Saturday night on Channel Thirteen's nine o'clock movie.  The Mets were on the west coast, not scheduled to start playing their excruciating brand of bad baseball till ten or so east coast time, so I kept it where it was for an hour, figuring that even an hour of that movie is time well spent.  And lord knows I can use a laugh before I watch the Mets nowadays.

I have seen Some Like It Hot several times, and I always count it among my favorite and best romantic/screwball comedies, but even so, every time I see it, it seems like it's even better than I thought it was.  It feels like it's been put together perfectly, from the first scene to the last, every shot and every line feels perfect, lean and fast and headlong.  It starts at a sprint and accelerates from there.  The famous last line says nobody's perfect, but Joe E. Brown hadn't seen this movie from the outside. 

If you haven't seen it:  Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are Prohibition-era Chicago musicians who happen to witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.  They go on the lam, pretending to be women so they can join up with an all-female band [with Marilyn Monroe as the singer, no less] that's headed down to Florida.  To keep from spoiling, I won't say more except that love complications, gender complications, and homicidal complications ensue.  Boop boop ee doo. 

If you haven't seen it, you should. If you have seen it, you should see it again if you love movies because this diamond is worth its weight in gold, as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk would say.  Lemmon, Curtis, Monroe -- none of them have ever been better.  Wilder was riding an amazing hot streak of great filmmaking in the fifties, working with I.A.L. Diamond on this screenplay as well as The Apartment, which would be released the following year.  Other movies Wilder made in the fifties include Sunset Blvd., Ace in the Hole, Sabrina, Stalag 17, and The Seven Year Itch, among others.  A nice bit of work. 

And Speaking of Drag

My favorite Sydney Pollack film is Tootsie, which, along with Some Like it Hot, would have to head the list of great comedies which feature men pretending to be women.  And great comedies, period.  Sydney Pollack died recently, leaving behind a host of fine films he directed or produced, and a handful of others which were enriched by his performances as a supporting actor.  But Tootsie...well, like Wilder's movie, it feels pretty perfect -- funny, touching, and satirical all at once, with great performances from Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Charles Durning, Dabney Coleman, Bill Murray, Teri Garr, Geena Davis, and Pollack himself as Hoffman's agent.   

Shakespeare, too, knew there were laughs to be had and complications to arise when you let some characters explore the other side of the gender line.  Twelfth Night is one of my favorites. 

For the definitive eighties teen movie take on the genre, Just One of the Guys is cute. 

Finally, the unintentionally funny Glen or Glenda? is one of the notoriously bad auteur Ed Wood's most personal films, and you'll never look at angora the same way again.

"I'm just afraid you're going to burn in Hell for all this." --Jeff [Bill Murray], Tootsie (1982).

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This issue of  BCLMC is brought to you all the way from the back row by Media Assistant Patrick "Sugar Kane" Jewell.  Tell your friends. 

The Media Center is located on the fifth floor of the Library Learning Center.  Come up and see us some time.



Questions?  Comments?  Contact us. 
Media Center Staff:
Andrea Slonosky,  Media Librarian  (718) 488-1311
Patrick Jewell,  Media Assistant  (718) 488-3392
Lisa Rivera,  Media Assistant  (718) 780-4378