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Some Like It Hot: How to Have Fun

<em>Some Like It Hot:</em> How to Have Fun

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.”

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