Although she died at the age of 36 in 1962, Marilyn Monroe’s appeal has been both timeless and classic. During her lifetime, her life was the subject of six books, mostly brief works, quickly done to capitalize on her popularity. Since her death, however, there have been some 300 books written about her. Two of these were written by Dr. Carl Rollyson, the LEAP Center’s guest speaker during a screening of “Some Like it Hot” at the Walker Education Center.
Dr. Rollyson was on hand during the reception to sign books…
which included not only the two Marilyn Monroe books, but also a well-received book on Huntsville native Dana Andrews.
Following an introduction by Dr. Rollyson…
…”Some Like it Hot” proved to be a crowd-pleaser, as it has been for the fifty-five years since its release in 1959. According to the American Film Institute, Some Like it Hot is the greatest film comedy of all time, and with a cast of Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, and Joe E. Brown, some great songs by Monroe, and an enduring appeal, it’s tough to argue with that choice.
The film was directed by Billy Wilder, one of the great Hollywood Directors. In addition to what may be the film industry’s greatest comedy, he also directed what might be the industry’s greatest film noir (Double Indemnity) and one the great romantic comedies (Sabrina) and melodramas (Sunset Boulevard), as well as one of the first films to deal seriously with alcoholism (The Lost Weekend). Some Like it Hot was his second film with Monroe; they previously did The Seven Year Itch; and Wilder knew how to direct Monroe.
Most people know that Tony Curtis adopts a Cary Grant persona when wooing Marilyn Monroe, but it may be less known that he also used his Grant impersonation to ask out his most famous Hollywood date: Janet Leigh. According to Leigh in her memoir, Curtis called her up and pretended to be Cary Grant asking for a date. Leigh was speechless, and as she stammered, Curtis revealed the gag. This might be something of a questionable tactic, seemingly setting up the date for a letdown, but it seemed to work for Curtis, who ended up marrying Janet Leigh.
Dr. Rollyson also noted that, while Curtis was doing his Cary Grant impersonation in Some Like it Hot, Jack Lemmon adopted the mannerisms of Joe E. Brown, his co-star (and film love interest!). The introduction added to the enjoyment of an already-enjoyable film.
Following dinner, the group enjoyed dinner and additional conversation at The Homestead. While sampling the Spicy Tomato and Red Pepper Soup and the Fresh Mozzarella and Garlic stuffed Tenderloin Filet, a handshake deal was made to bring Dr. Rollyson back in 2015, when his biography of Walter Brennan will be published. Tune in!