Some Like It Hot

GORGEOUS! This is a pricey book but the quality makes up for that. Beautiful photos and interviews. This is the version that comes with a reproduction of Marilyn's promptbook. I would have bought it for that alone. It comes in a great box. If you are a fan of the film you will love this book.

Author Alison Castle and Dan Auiler
Publisher Taschen
Cover Type Hardcover Large Format
Dimensions 10 x 16 inches
Publish Date 2001
ISBN 3-8228-6056-5
Signed No
Number of Pages 382


Taschen, the publishing house that caters to those who want to take their reading matter to the extreme, now has a sort of sister companion to their mammoth Andre Dienes Marilyn book, Billy Wilderís Some Like It Hot. Actually, the SLIH tome came out first. But if the De Dienes book was likened to a coffee table in size and weight, Billy Wilderís Some Like It Hot is more along the lines of a small end table. But then thatís one of the main points of the Taschen books, the sheer size of the thing. For those who want to get down on the floor and wallow in Marilyn, you just canít beat Taschen.

 I remember when this book first came out and I spotted it in a books hop in Santa Cruz. I admit that I have never coveted my neighborís wife but man, did I covet this. But prudence and a shrinking wallet kept me from splurging for five years. But having spent the last week or so pouring over the pages in delighted detail, I can assure you it was worth the wait. For thatís one of the things about as Taschen book too ñ you canít just plop down for a good read. You have to have a strong table or counter and at least three or four hours to totally indulge yourself. Iím still not so sure if it was worth the original price but if one perseveres, one should be able to buy a copy without giving up things like food, rent or child payments. Although amazon.com now lists its used copies starting at $309.00, a quick glance at eBay shows one copy out there with a starting bid of $19.99.

 So whatís in it? What are the goodies?

Start off with a fine suede, pale butterscotch color cover. Thatís right: suede. And then itís 380 some pages of gigantic photos, black and white and color; (plenty of which were new to me); posters, lobby cards, press releases; the full, final shooting script with stills on every page; interviews with Billy Wilder, Audrey Wilder, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Walter Mirisch, and Barbara Diamond, (as well as two San Diego locals, Russ Elwell and Carvil Veech ñ who attended the 2000 screening at the Hotel Del Coronado). And then a full filmography of Billy Wilder. The interviews alone are well worth whatever price you must cough up, covering everything from pre-production, working with Marilyn, the first preview, the public and critical reaction to the film. Billy is wonderful as ever, (and very kind in his memories of Monroe), and Tony Curtis is pretty much as we have all come to expect ñ kind of smarmy. The treats are Jack Lemmon, Audrey Wilder and I.A.L. Diamondís widow, Barbara. I was fortunate enough to meet up with one of the member of Sweet Sueís band two years back and spent a good amount of time listening to her reminiscing. The same warm feeling comes from simply reading the memories of these folks interviewed for the book.

 And goodies? Thereís a really cool little bookmark ñ a heavy cardboard caricature of Wilder attached to a satin ribbon. AND an exact copy of Marilyn Monroeís own promptbook complete with all of her own handwritten notations, little bits of characterization, how she wants to respond to a piece of dialog and, several, small notes that made sense to her but not to me. But thatís the stuff we all live for, right?

 Thereís plenty of trivia here as well. All sorts of little anecdotes be they memories of being hired for the movie, writing the script, audienceís first reactions, David Selznick warnings to Wilder that ìBlood and comedy do not mix,î or even tidbits like learning that Edward G. Robinson Jr. has a small part in the movie, (for those who read Blonde and have wondered ever since what Robinson Jr. looks like, check the scene at the Florida hotel when Spats encounters the young punk flipping a coin aíla George Raftsí early roles).

 Even with the plethora of photos, good paper stock and the complete final shooting script, it is the interviews that make the book for there is nothing quite like hearing about the making of a favorite film from those who were actually there, the ones who suffered through the long waits as well as the joy of participating in the creation of a cinematic classic. And the film is a classic, no doubts about that. Even if the film had not been judged the best comedy of the 20th century by the American Film Institute, any viewer can attest to the movieís staying power. Wonderful performances, (Jack Lemmon is, to my mind, the only actor who was ever able to hold his own when appearing on screen with Marilyn Monroe), quick and witty script, great cinematography, (again my opinion but I am so glad the movie was made in black and white). Some say it is Marilynís best. Others single the movie out as the best of Wilderís long career.

 The book not only brings the memory of the film right into your hands, reminding you just how great a movie this was, but a film that is fiercely loved even now, forty-eight years after its premiere. Whether on the big screen, DVD or on the Late, Late Show, people from all corners of the globe love this movie. Or as Barbara Diamond puts it, ìThey began to laugh and never stopped.î

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