Dorothy, Josephine and Daphne
Today in the world of woke, a man can say he is a woman and gender is fluid ??? Oh well ! ! !
So today I’m looking at 2 of my all-time favourite American comedies – Tootsie (1982) and Some Like It Hot (1959) where the male leads need to become a woman.
In Tootsie, the main character, Michael Dorsey (played by Dustin Hoffman) is a talented but temperamental actor whose reputation for being difficult makes him unemployable.
He then adopts a new identity as a woman called Dorothy Michaels and attends an audition for a female hospital administrator on a popular daytime soap opera.
Successfully winning the role he/she finds his life increasingly complicated as he falls for one of the leading ladies in the TV show whilst her father falls for “her”.
It gets all too much for Michael/Dorothy that he has to find a way out of his predicament.
This comedy is expertly directed by the ever reliable Sydney Pollack and boasts a terrific cast including Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, George Gaynes and even Pollack himself.
However, it is Hoffman who dominates proceedings with, IMO, his best ever film performance as he superbly mixes comedy, pathos and social commentary without resorting to caricature.
Then we go back to 1959 for my all-time favourite comedy in Some Like It Hot directed and co-written by the incomparable Billy Wilder.
Set in Prohibition-era Chicago, two musicians (Joe played by Tony Curtis and Jerry played by Jack Lemmon) are forced to go on the run after witnessing a gangland massacre where they disguise themselves by dressing as women named Josephine (Joe) and Daphne (Jerry) so they can join an all-female band heading by train to Miami.
Joining them with the female band is Sugar Kane (planed by Marilyn Monroe) as the band’s vocalist and ukulele player.
Soon Joe lusts after Sugar and attempts to seduce her by pretending to be an oil millionaire, the heir to Shell Oil.
Tony Curtis was never better in film, either as the hustler Joe, as Shell Oil Junior by employing a hilarious Cary Grant parody and as Josephine. I never thought he has got the plaudits he deserved compared to Lemmon and Monroe.
And of course sultry Marilyn was never sexier in her Orry-Kelly designed dress.
Billy Wilder was asked about making another film with Monroe:
“I have discussed this with my doctor and my psychiatrist and they tell me I’m too old and too rich to go through this again.”
But he also admitted:
“My Aunt Minnie would always be punctual and never hold up production, but who would pay to see my Aunt Minnie ?”
And to top it all off the film has one of the best endings/last line in movie history as Jerry/Daphne has been wooed by the much-married and ageing mama’s boy Osgood Fielding III.
I never tire of watching this marvellous movie – I probably watch it at least twice a year as it never fails to make me laugh and bring a smile to my face, something which is so rare in these unsettling times.