SOME LIKE IT HOT by sofiaie


									                                     IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT

                                     Directed by
                                     Frank Capra

                                     Writing credits
                                     Samuel Hopkins Adams (story)
                                     Robert Riskin

                                     Clark Gable .... Peter Warne
                                     Claudette Colbert .... Ellie Andrews
                                     Walter Connolly .... Alexander Andrews
                                     Roscoe Karns .... Oscar Shapeley
                                     Jameson Thomas .... King Westley

                                       It Happened One Night is one of the greatest
                                       romantic comedies in film history, and a film that has
                                       endured in popularity. It is considered one of the
                                       pioneering "screwball" comedies of its time, setting
the pattern for many years afterwards. The madcap film from Columbia Studios was an
unexpected runaway box office hit, and it garnered the top five Academy Awards
(unrivaled until 1975, forty-one years later by One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) -
and then again by The Silence of the Lambs (1991).) It won all five of its nominated
categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), Best
Director (Frank Capra), and Best Adaptation (Robert Riskin).
         The theme of the film, appropriate during the Depression Era, is the story of the
unlikely romantic pairing of a mismatched couple - a gruff and indifferent newspaper
man and a snobbish, superior-acting heiress on the lam. It is a reversal of the Cinderella
story (the heroine rejects her wealthy lifestyle), a modern tale with light-hearted sex
appeal in which courtship and love triumph over class conflicts, socio-economic
differences, and verbal battles of wit.
         Frank Capra was a director at Columbia studios who ended up with the script for
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT after it was turned down at MGM. Clark Gable was under
contract to MGM. Gable was being difficult, declining roles, he checked himself into the
hospital. Louis B. Mayer punished Gable by “loaning” him to Columbia in exchange for
Capra directing a MGM picture. Gable eventually showed up at Capra’s office drunk and
telling the director that his office smelled and that he didn’t care what Capra did with his
script. Eventually things were worked out and the two men actually became friends.
Capra helped make Gable a star.
         Gable appears in the film without a T-shirt and caused a new fad. T-shirt sales
plummeted. His clothing also became a fad, after the film Gable continued to wear a
trenchcoat in most of his films, considering it the coat to be lucky.
         Claudette Colbert was under contract to Paramount but was convinced to come to
Columbia by doubling her $25,000 salary. She was also guaranteed that filming would
be finished in 4 weeks, so she could meet friends for Christmas a Sun Valley. Colbert
was also difficult; she argued constantly with Capra. She balked at taking her clothes off,
so the director had her toss undergarments on the top of a blanket while standing on the
other side. Colbert also refused to show her leg in the famous hitchhiking scene, so
Capra called for a stand-in. Colbert decided she didn’t want someone else’s leg
attributed to her and finally agreed to do the scene herself.
        For all his difficulties Capra brought the picture in in 4 weeks for a total budget of


Director .... Billy Wilder
Screenplay.... Robert Thoeren
                M. Logan
                Billy Wilder
                I. A. L. Diamond
Marilyn Monroe .... Sugar Kane
Tony Curtis .... Joe (Josephine)/Junior
Jack Lemmon .... Jerry (Daphne)
George Raft .... Spats Colombo
Pat O'Brien .... Mulligan
Joe E. Brown .... Osgood Fielding

The ribald film is a clever combination of many
elements: a spoof of 1920-30's gangster films with
period costumes and speakeasies, and romance in a
quasi-screwball comedy with one central joke -
entangled and deceptive identities, reversed sex roles
and cross-dressing. In fact, one of the film's major
themes is disguise. It's also a black and white film
(reminiscent of the early film era) filled with non-stop
action (e.g., the initial car chase), slapstick, and one-
liners reminiscent of Marx Brothers and Mack Sennett comedies. An earlier Bob Hope
film had the same title: Some Like It Hot (1939).

The exceptional film was the all-time highest-grossing comedy up to its time, and one of
the most successful films of 1959. Only a few other cross-dressing comedies have come
close to approximating the film's daring hilarity: Tootsie (1982), La Cage Aux Folles
(1978) and Victor/Victoria (1982). Some Like It Hot also inspired the Broadway musical
Sugar that opened in 1972.

This was Marilyn Monroe's second film with director Billy Wilder, her first being The
Seven Year Itch (1955). Countless stories have circulated regarding her erratic behavior
and health/personal problems, her 'no-shows' and frequent tardiness to the set, her self-
doubts and numerous re-takes required for some scenes, and her inability to remember
her lines. The film's preview in December 1958 at a greater LA theatre, when it was
paired with the Tennessee Williams Southern drama Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) about
cannibalism and a threatened lobotomy, was also a disaster.

This very funny film, very much unlike director Wilder's darker films Double Indemnity
(1944) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), was advertised with the tagline: "The movie too
HOT for words." It was released at the end of the repressive 1950s at a time when the
studio system was weakening, the advent of television was threatening, and during a time
of the declining influence of the Production Code and its censorship restrictions.
Director-producer Wilder challenged the system with this gender-bending and risqué
comedy, filled with sly sexual innuendo.

This film received six Academy Award nominations including Best Actor (Jack
Lemmon), Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (based on a German musical titled
Fanfares of Love (1935)), Best B/W Cinematography, and Best B/W Art Direction/Set
Decoration - with its sole Oscar awarded for Best B/W Costume Design (Orry-Kelly, for
costumes including Marilyn Monroe's shimmering gowns). Unfortunately, it was
competing against one of the biggest winners in Oscar history - Ben Hur (1959).

1. Critique each film. Write two paragraphs discussing elements of each film that you
   like or dislike. You should comment on acting, story, editing, and entertainment
   value. Be sure to back up your comments with examples from the films. (20 points)
      Typical Aspects of the Screwball           IT HAPPENED ONE   SOME LIKE IT HOT
                 Comedy                               NIGHT

        Urban America of the 1930’s and
         1940’s, in the upperclass world of
         socialites, heiresses, and debutantes

       The main characters are a couple, a
        man and a woman, who are initially
        mismatched – by temperament or
S   
        social class.
        The woman is of a higher social
C       class than the man, and she is feisty,
        headstrong and proud
R      The men are of lower class or
        professionals; they’re sometimes
E       clever, but often befuddled or
W      Secondary characters include
        various friends and relatives of the
B       couple, ditsy rich people, servants,
        and hangers-on.
A   Plot
        The mismatched lovers meet
L        (usually bumping into each other by
         accident), continue to be thrown
L        together against their will, have a
         series of improbable adventures,
         grow attached to each other in spite
         of themselves, survive comic
C        disasters, and end up happily
         engaged or married.
O       Themes usually explore how love
         overcomes, how couples negotiate a
M        relationship, and what constitutes a
         “good match.” There is a “feminist”
D        bent because the woman is
         dominant or at least equal to the
E        male.
D   Iconography
       Clothing is important as a sign of
Y       social status as a symbol of gender
        role. There are usually lots of
        evening dresses and tuxedos.
        Sometimes incidents of cross-
        dressing occur.
       Props include party paraphenalia
        such as champagne glasses, society
        orchestras, night clubs, and the
        trappings of the rich.
      Light, daffy, and joyously optimistic
       regarding relationships. The couple
       may fight and struggle, but love
       conquers all.
    Cinematic Style
       The screwball comedy is dominated
        by sound – particularly the rapid
        pace of the dialogue.

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