WolfmanOz at the Movies #18

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.

Enjoy.

13 thoughts on “WolfmanOz at the Movies #18”

  1. Like you, I also never tire of watching Some Like It Hot. It is perhaps my favourite comedy of all time. Love Tootsie too.

    And Orry-Kelly….a Kiama boy.

    You know, once upon a time we used to laugh at men dressing up as women, because it is laughable. Now we’re supposed to take them seriously and accord them “respect”. No, I’m sorry but I can’t. Any man putting on a dress warrants being laughed at.


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  2. Back in 1959 I saw Some Like it Hot at the Lyceum theatre in Pitt St Sydney.
    I went alone to the matinee session and laughed so much I fell off the seat onto the floor. The old spring seat flew up with a bang and I felt so embarrassed as there was a bloke seated on either side of me. Later waited till everyone around me had left when lights came on. I felt so ashamed. Never laughed like that again during a film. Memorable.


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  3. Cassie of Sydney says:
    April 28, 2022 at 11:34 am
    Another favourite comedy is Arsenic and Old Lace.

    Likewise . . . loved Cary Grant and his two aunts.


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  4. MM was a wonderful comedienne. I love How to Marry a Millionaire as well.

    Agree with Cassie that Tootsie has not aged nearly as well as MM’s classics.


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  5. Billy Wilder was a sick puppy, his

    films were pretty creepy and this is no exception.

    Joe E Brown, the wide mouth comedian, completely forgotten today.


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  6. Wolf man – Given Dustin Hoffman being female sensitive with wimmenz rights etc – I recall an Italian Cracker in 1979 of 3 seperate stories with the central theme of SEX ( real sex man and real woman).
    One story had a male coach of a female soccer team who were loosing and the own calls the coach in to barrel him that if he does not start winning he will be sacked.
    The coach in desperation replies he has a new recruit coming that will change the teams fortune.
    He cannot find a new recruit so he shave his legs etc and turns up as the new recruit and coach to the girls.
    First challenge is seeing semi naked women in the change rooms, coaching the women but the best is game day.
    Putting himself as striker he scores a goal. Mobbed by his team mates his face he covered in their breasts and his hands are groping their bottoms.
    The team starts winning and the owner calls the player/coach to his board room where he tries to crack on to him.
    The crescendo is the grand final and a free is given to the opposition at the edge of the penalty area – box for non soccer fans – where the girls automatically place their hand covering their gorgeous full Italian breast while he paces his hands covering his gentians. Noticing his team mates he put his hands cover his chest.
    The opposition take the free kick and hits our hero right in the plumbs, causing him to keel over onto his knees in agony where his wigs slides off and he is exposed.
    This was in 1979 and as 14 – 15 yr olds we killed ourselves laughing.
    This may have been an Italian version of the Woody Allen films of the early to mid seventies.


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  7. Hey Woolfie – while I think about the cinematic contribution of our brethren south of the alps in the holy Roman see – what about your analysis on Fellini’s “city of women” – no need to dress up but the horror of society run by women.


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  8. Found it – Sex With A Smile II or Spogliamoci così, senza pudor…
    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075255/

    Louis Litt says:
    April 29, 2022 at 7:31 am
    Hey Woolfie – while I think about the cinematic contribution of our brethren south of the alps in the holy Roman see – what about your analysis on Fellini’s “city of women” – no need to dress up but the horror of society run by women.

    I’m thinking of doing a post in the next week or so about Fellini.


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