This Saturday August 1st, the Cinespia Film Society will be screening director Billy Wilder’s 1959 comedy classic at the historic outdoor venue where movies are presented on the side of the cemetery’s mausoleum while the audience sits among the graves of Hollywood’s former luminaries.
Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis star in what is widely considered the most iconic comedy in Hollywood history. A joy to watch from start to finish, this is writer/director Billy Wilder’s most hilarious, lively, and entertaining film that tops the American Film Institute’s list of Best Comedies of all time.
Set against the backdrop of Chicago in the roaring twenties, this titillating farce starts with two musicians (Curtis and Lemmon) witnessing a mob hit. Broke and desperate, they flee the state in an all-female jazz band disguised as women. All goes well until the voluptuous and sultry Sugar Kowalski (Monroe) enters the picture to tantalize Curtis, and a frisky old millionaire (Joe E. Brown) falls for Lemmon’s alter ego, the vivacious Daphne.
Lemmon and Curtis are nothing short of riotous in drag, perfecting their required personas to the point of creating very real characters that are as believable to the audience as they are to the players on screen. As manly as Curtis and Lemmon are, through manner and attitude there is never a moment’s doubt that these two “ladies” are accepted for what they present themselves to be. And yet Curtis also morphs convincingly into a third personality, channeling a dashing Cary Grant when dallying with the delightful Sugar. Although Lemmon was recognized for his portrayal, how Curtis was overlooked for an Academy Award nomination for his performance is truly remarkable (perhaps it is time for a Lifetime Achievement consideration, hmmr).
Monroe is well known for these types of adorable, sexy, innocent roles, but it’s her accomplishments as a fine actress for which she was never really appreciated. After all, with her natural talents she made it seem all too easy. But it is as the funny and heartbreaking Sugar that she is particularly astonishingly desirable and irresistibly sweet. This is arguably the greatest role of Monroe’s career. It would be a shame to miss this unique opportunity to see it.
Gates open at 7:00 pm, screening to begin at 8:30 pm. A $10 donation is requested at the gate. As a courtesy to other moviegoers: no tall chairs. D.J. Carlos Nino spins before and after the screening. Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood Forever Cemetery is located at 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard at Gower.