For my third film critique I watched “Some Like it Hot” directed by Billy Wilder. This film was made in 1959, but based in 1929 in America during the prohibition era. Because there was a thirty-year difference between the filming of the movie and the setting, the set design, costumes and props all head to reflect the original artifacts of the time. In the 1950s film were shot in color, but this film was shot in black and white. I read online that the movie chose to shoot in black and white because the makeup that the men had to wear gave them a green tinge in colored film. I wonder though if they were also thinking about the 1929 era and how most films were shot in black and white.
Black and white film brings a whole new approach to costume and set design. If the director wants the attention to be on one person by how they dress, they wouldn’t dress them in red because that would show up as grey onscreen. Instead white draws the attention of the audience in black and white.
“Some Like it Hot” was filmed in California, though the story did not take place there. The movie starts off in Chicago with snow and cold weather. The costuming reflected the weather and the characters were dressed in down coats that would be worn during the 20s and the allusion of snow along with the sound of strong wind, made it believable that the scene was taking place in a cold area. The rest of the movie takes place in Florida, which was actually filmed at an old-timey hotel in San Diego, CA. The director chose this location because the hotel matched the era they were shooting in and therefore less adjustments would have had to been made.
The costuming in the movie was entertaining. The girls were dressed in 20’s flapper like costumes and had the elegant furs and diamonds. There was a jazzy feel to the movie with the girl band and the use of diegetic and non-diegetic music. Costuming played an important role, since the men were dressed as females for the majority of the movie. The men had to look convincingly like women, shaved legs, stockings, dresses, wigs, makeup, and jewelry. It was humorous because the clearly still had the build of men and their voices were not natural for the voice of a woman.
The camera work in the movie was pretty basic from what I noticed. When the characters are talking the camera stays relatively still and when the characters move the camera tracks along with them. There are your pans and tilts, but compared to the kind of camera work cinema has available to them today it is nothing groundbreaking. There were a lot of two shots because the main characters were a pair. I noticed the over the shoulder shots when two characters were conversing the director wanted both bodies in the shot.
I thought the movie was enjoyable to watch. I’ve only seen a clip of the movie “White Girls” but I imagine they got some of their inspiration from this movie. I liked how in the movie, when the boys were dressed like girls they realized how much harassment girls receive from men constantly. This is an iconic movie and I would recommend it.