This film has everything going for it: the fish out of water story, Marilyn Monroe’s sexiness, Jack Lemmon’s comedic talent, Tony Curtis’s good looks, and Billy Wilder’s (the Seven Year Itch, Witness for the Prosecution) talent for directing comedies. It’s no wonder it has been named to many best movies ever made lists.
Struggling Chicago musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis – Operation Petticoat, The Defiant Ones) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon – Grumpy Old Men, Glengarry Glen Ross), have to try every trick in the book to try and get gigs. After fleeing from a raid at one such gig they have the misfortune of witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The gangsters see the two as they flee and so they are now running for their lives.
Realizing that the mob will not stop until they’ve found them, the two dress up as women and join an all-woman’s band that is leaving for Florida. Joe and Jerry are now Josephine and Daphne. Their cover is perfect until love and a beautiful fellow bandmate named Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) puts everything in jeopardy.
Today we are used to films where men dress up as women. It is no longer scandalous. Back in the 50s it was still risky. What is even more risky about the film is how suggestive and filled with double entendres the film is. The dialogue is incredibly witty and well written. The acting is also note perfect with Lemmon and Curtis playing silly perfectly and Monroe being her sexy, naïve self.
For younger viewers who may never have heard of this film (perish the thought!) just trust me when I say that this is no old and boring black and white film. Everything about the story in this film is outrageous. With the talents of Wilder, Lemmon, Curtis, and Monroe they are able to even go past outrageous into hysterical territory making this film a classic.
- BRAND NEW 4K RESTORATION, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- Audio commentary from 1989 featuring film scholar Howard Suber
- New program on Orry-Kelly’s costumes for the film, featuring costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis and costume historian and archivist Larry McQueen
- Three making-of documentaries
- Appearance from 1982 by director Billy Wilder on The Dick Cavett Show
- Conversation from 2001 between actor Tony Curtis and film critic Leonard Maltin
- French television interview from 1988 with actor Jack Lemmon
- PLUS: An essay by author Sam Wasson