Most great movies are great, as their admirers show us, because they contain hidden multitudes. These great movies, they are palimpsests, rich in layered meaning and subtle complexity. “Look again,” we’re told (and tell each other). “There’s even more in there the second time around.” We revisit these great movies over and over, and each time we do, we are amazed to discover in them something new and marvelous, and just when we’re certain the great movie’s many marvels have all been discovered, we find ourselves older, our perspectives another year matured, and the great movie looks, incredibly, even wiser than before; it has actually gotten better. Criticism is to these movies what light is to a prism.
Some Like It Hot is not one of these movies.
Assuming the picture is clear, the volume is turned on, and you don’t hate film, the greatness of Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959) will be obvious to you, completely and immediately. That’s it. Love at first sight. Because Some Like It Hot is manifestly wonderful, you will not love it more on a second viewing, and you will not love it more as you get older and wiser. It is the exact opposite of an acquired taste.
“Wilder’s famous last lines are legion, but what makes them so revelatory is what they imply about the characters’ unseen pasts and futures.”
The Roaring Twenties: Into the Past
Hollywood legend Raoul Walsh’s first movie for Warner Bros. is an epoch-spanning tall tale that takes inspiration from the New York City of his childhood and closes out a run of influential gangster films he inaugurated in the silent era.
The Heroic Trio / Executioners: To the Power of Three
Combining the influence of the wuxia genre, the Hong Kong New Wave filmmaking of the 1980s, and loony comic-book futurism, these two ass-kicking fantasias are dazzling showcases of female physicality.
Nothing but a Man: What We Can See in Ourselves
Released at the height of the civil rights movement, this deceptively simple tale of a working-class Black man’s search for love and self-worth broke ground with its realism, nuance, and intensity.
Eric Rohmer’s Tales of the Four Seasons: Another Year
Through its echoes, resonances, and intricately branching stories, this cycle of films evokes the feeling that life, like the weather, is based on patterns too complex to ever be fully predictable.
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