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FILM IN FOCUS

Discussing one classic film and its music score

 

 

No. 8:

50th anniversary of

SOME LIKE IT HOT

and

Adolph Deutsch's film score


 

 

The Film

 

The Film

The American Film Institute has listed it at the No. 1 position of 100 Funniest American Movies.

The film released by United Artists has become a movie buffs favorite because of the great comedic performances by Marilyn Monroe (probably her best performance), Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. Also the hilarious suggestive dialogue written by I.A.L. Diamond and director, Billy Wilder.

SOME LIKE IT HOT opened officially in the USA on 29 March 1959. The film received six Academy Award nominations but received only one for Orry-Kelly as Best Black & White Costume Design. Also it received three Golden Globes: one for Best Comedy Film, one for Marilyn Monroe as Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, and Jack Lemmon for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. But it wasn't an immediate classic. It took time to catch on with audiences and has grown in popularity over the years. Now considered by almost everyone as one of the funniest movies ever made, it has been available on video, Laserdisc, and DVD.

 

The Soundtrack

SOME LIKE IT HOT (Original UA LP soundtrack)

 

Background score composed and conducted by
Adolph Deutsch.

Songs arranged by Matty Malneck and feature
his orchestra.

The soundtrack LP album was first released by United Artists in both Mono and Stereo versions in 1959. Then the album was re-issued in Stereo in 1974. That's apparently the album used in 1998 for the"Enhanced CD" (20 tracks), released by Rykodisc. In addition to the music there is the movie trailer, which isn't very clear if you can even get your computer to play it.

The CD also includes these six brief joke cues from the film's dialogue:

Track 3: We Could
Track 7: A Musical Family
Track 10: Fuzzy End of the Lollipop
Track 13: Rough, Hairy Beasts
Track 16: Very Interesting
Track 19: Real Hot!

For some purists it's a bad idea to include these cues because they interrupt the music tracks. Yet for those who want to hear bits of the wonderfully witty dialogue by I.A.L. Diamond and Billy Wilder, this CD provides an enjoyable mix of funny lines and a pleasant background score by Adolph Deutsch, with an especially beautiful arrangement of "Stairway to the Stars" (Track 8: Park Avenue Fantasy, 3:30).

Here's a bit of trivia: Adolph Deutsch was the man who suggested Johnny Williams (now film composer, John Williams) for the role of restaurant pianist in the Billy Wilder 1960 Oscar-winning film, THE APARTMENT.

The song arrangements in SOME LIKE IT HOT are by Matty Malneck and are very enjoyable if you're not too picky about authentic music from the 1920s. Among the enjoyable old songs are "Down Among the Sheltering Palms" and "Sweet Georgia Brown."

There are also three good songs nicely sung by Marilyn Monroe: "Runnin' Wild"/ "I Wanna Be Loved By You"/ "I'm Thru With Love." She also recorded the title song but it is not included on this CD, it's only an instrumental on the last track of the CD.

The 2004 CD on Varese Sarabande has removed the dialogue tracks and is thus shorter (14 tracks, 30:59).

Recorded sound quality on both the Rydodisc and Varese CDs is not great according to current digital standards but isn't terrible either. And it's in weak '50s Stereo, not in Mono as some reviewers have claimed.

Here is what one Amazon reviewer wrote about the Varese Sarabande CD:

"the new cover art is terrible--this does NOT look like Marilyn Monroe in the least! It may seem a slight complaint to some, but I loved the cover art of Rykodisc's release much better."

Me too. If it doesn't look like Marilyn Monroe, that's because it isn't her. She had a stand-in for the soundtrack cover photo shoot and her name is Sandra Warner, one of the uncredited band musicians in the film. She mentions her stand-in photo shoot on the DVD bonus feature -- Memories from the Sweet Sue's.

Here's the Varese CD cover:

 

Some Like It Hot

SOME LIKE IT HOT (Varese Sarabande CD)

 

And this is the superior Rykodisc CD cover art by Stephen Haas:

SOME LIKE IT HOT (Rykodisc CD)

The Rykodisc remains the best of the CD releases, even with the awkward foldout sheet, less than ideal sound, and dialogue tracks.

There's also a 2 CD release currently listed on Amazon which claims to be the film soundtrack. It is not, but instead a collection of songs by Marilyn Monroe from various sources and with little information. Buyer beware!

It would be ideal to have a newly remastered CD of SOME LIKE IT HOT with bonus tracks if they still exist and more extensive notes about the score, plus maybe another film score from that era to fill up the CD.

Until then, I'd recommend watching the 2 disc DVD. It's a beautifully restored package with interesting bonus features, including two documentaries (The Making of SOME LIKE IT HOT and The Legacy of SOME LIKE IT HOT), some of which is repeated in the other bonus features. There is also a lively conversation between Leonard Maltin and Tony Curtis from 2001.

This film was ahead of its time with its hilarious risque humor and sexy revealing dresses for Marilyn Monroe showing her ample bosom (she was pregnant at the time). The ads said it was "Recommended as ADULT ENTERTAINMENT." How times have changed!

As Joe E. Brown says in the film -- "Zowie!"

After 50 years, SOME LIKE IT HOT is hotter than ever!

 

-- Roger Hall, 2009

Comments regarding this review can be sent to: Film Music Review

See also this CD review:

Hollywood's Greatest Hits

 


Recommended DVD

SOME LIKE IT HOT (Collector's Edition, 2 Disc Set)

 

 

Recommended Book

The Making of Some Like It Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American Movie

This book is recommended if you'd like to read a frank behind-the-scenes account by someone who was there the whole time. There are many humorous and gossipy stories told by Tony Curtis, especially about Billy Wilder and Marilyn Monroe. The book is titled:

The Making of Some Like It Hot:
My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American Movie

by Tony Curtis with Mark A. Viera

 

 

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