Tony Curtis is “Josephine” and Jack Lemmon is “Daphne” in this screwball comedy featuring 24 minutes of the boys dressing up as women to travel with an all-girl band on board a train headed for Florida. What’s not to like?
Add to this frothy situation the presence of Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk and travel on an old section Pullman sleeper never looked better.
Although the movie was filmed in black and white, many of the studio stills were in color including this group photo of the girl band onboard Clover Colony.
I swear that looks like Angela Lansbury on the far right, but she’s nowhere listed in the film’s credits. It was most likely actress Joan Shawlee who played bandleader Sweet Sue.
The mob is after musicians Tony & Jack after they unintentionally witness a gangland hit. To ditch town, they sign on with an all-girl orchestra that’s just boarding down at the station…disguised as Josephine & Daphne, of course.
That’s Pullman, “Prior Lake” they are walking past.
Next to sashay past Prior Lake is none other than Marilyn/Sugar Kane to accompanying, naughty, “wah-wah-WAH” music. The Pullman gives her bum a blast of steam, just for giggles. The boys watch in awe.
In the background, we hear an announcement for the train they are boarding: “Florida Limited now leaving on Track 1 for Washington, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville & Miami. All Aboard!”. This sounds like a train leaving from New York rather than Chicago where the movie begins.
The next Pullman in the consist is “Lake Mary” as a news butcher passes by with papers for sale. Now the boys must “run the gauntlet” to get past Sweet Sue and the chaperone Beinstock (sounds like Beanstalk) played by Dave Barry.
Oopsie! Daphne stumbles climbing the stairs and Beinstock gives him/her a friendly little pat on the rump. To which Jack replies, “Fresh!”.
Hi girls! Great interior views of Clover Colony. Compare these scenes with the color view shown above.
Which bathroom to use? In the Ladies john, they discover Sugar Kane having a wee nip of whiskey. More Wah-Wah background music. The boys watch longingly as Sugar puts the flask back on her garter. Also good detail shots of the wood-lined bathroom and fixtures on Clover Colony.
This is our only locomotive shot, used repeatedly on their journey. It appears to be an older 2-6-0 or 4-6-0 steam engine — no identifying marks visible.
Practice, practice, practice… This is the best view yet of Clover Colony with the sections made up for daytime configuration. It’s Tony on the saxophone, Jack on the stand-up bass and Marilyn on the ukulele.
Bedtime! With the sleeper now made up for nighttime configuration, it’s a pajama party of feminine pulchritude!
Marilyn’s girls on display. A good shot of the interior of Upper 7 (note the ladder to get up there).
Sugar climbs up to visit Daphne. Let’s snuggle! Not one to waste an opportunity, Daphne reaches down to lower 7 where Josephine is asleep, borrowing his bottle of whiskey. Soon, a little party has begun in Upper 7.
Hey, are you guys partying? Word travels fast through the sleeper and soon everyone is headed for Upper 7 led by Yeoman Rand.
The gag is, the movie takes place during Prohibition and Sweet Sue allows no drinking. So naturally, all the girls drink and have spirits on their person or close at hand.
The girls cram into Upper 7 much to Jack’s delight. A hot water bottle full of gin and just a little vermouth makes a wonderful martini shaker. Crackers to munch on!
A sweet, young thing asks Tony if he’s got any mixer. How many girls can fit in an upper berth? I never did take a count. Surrounded by shapely legs, Tony asks Jack how the heck this all happened.
Marilyn fetches a block of ice from somewhere and hands it to Tony. In the second picture, you can just make out, “Sweet Sue and her Society something… (Symphony?)” on the bass drum. I can’t quite make it out. Chopping up the ice for the party in the woman’s restroom, Tony and Marilyn find themselves having a little private drink together.
Meanwhile, the party in Upper 7 is roaring along. Someone slips ice down the back of Jack’s nightdress, causing him to pitch forward and accidentally pull the train’s emergency brake.
The engineer slides the drivers with a satisfying display of sparks and Tony finds himself face down in Marilyn’s ample chest.
If, dear reader, you can pull yourself away from Tony’s face plant, we get an excellent view of the plumbing and fixtures in the bathroom of Clover Colony. I’ll show myself out now.
The sudden stop spills the girls from Upper 7 and they scurry back to their sections before being spotted by Sue or Beinstock.
Thus endith the train scenes. Immediately after the emergency stop, the movie shows the band arriving at the “Seminole-Ritz Hotel”. Of course, that’s the famous Hotel Del Coronado near San Diego standing in for both the Seminole-Ritz and Florida.
Here’s what IMDb has to say about Some Like it Hot:
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