Images of America

A Social and Historical Look
at America Through the Movies

Study Guide - Some Like it Hot (1959)

Director : Billy Wilder

Stars :
Marilyn Monroe .... Sugar Kane Kowalczyk
Tony Curtis .... Joe/Josephine/Junior
Jack Lemmon .... Jerry/Daphne
George Raft .... Spats Colombo
Pat O'Brien .... Mulligan
Joe E. Brown .... Osgood Fielding III

Preparation :
Read the movie reviews by Roger Ebert, and the New York Times.

Historical/Social Significance :
Some Like It Hot received a "C" (Condemned) rating from the Catholic Legion of Decency. The film, along with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and several other films, led to the end of the Production Code in the mid-60's. Some Like It Hot was released by United Artists without the MPAA logo in the credits or title sequence since the film did not receive Production Code approval.

Criticizes stereotypical gender roles and images.

The movie was set in 1929, the year Prohibition went into effect.

Synopsis :
Two musicians witness a Saint Valentine's like mob massacre and disguise themselves as women and join a female band to hide out.

Guided Questions for Viewing :
Assessment questions will be based on the following :

  1. The movie is said to be a critique of stereotyped gender roles and images. Comment on this with regard to the movie.
  2. Joe and Jerry, when they assume female identities, both become better people. Give examples of this and comment why you think it happened.
  3. "Dirty old man ... I just got pinched in the elevator."
    "Now you know how the other half lives."
    "They don't care. Just so long as you're wearing a skirt. It's like waving a red flag in front of a bull."
    "Really, well I'm sick of being the flag. I want to be the bull again."
    What message is the author trying to get across with the above dialogue between Jerry and Joe? Reference the movie with your answer.
  4. Give some examples of Jerry and Joe's behavior and character before their "transformation."

Ebert, Roger. "Some Like it Hot." May 30, 1959.

Dirks, Tom. "Some Like it Hot".

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