The tone and style of Some Like it Hot are very much in line with many Screwball Comedies. The subject matter is ridiculous (two male musicians forced to dress as women to escape some angry gangsters), and the dialogue writing has the snappy repartee. Jerry (Jack Lemmon) is very much a goofball in the tradition of wacky “screwball” characters for which the genre is named. The world of Some Like It Hot, like those of classical screwball comedies, is a pushed reality, in which the absurd runs rampant.
|Sugar: the antithesis of the Screwball heroine|
|Joe poses as a millionaire.|
In the middle years of the reign of the Screwball, writers and directors discovered that it wasn’t the happily-ever-after romantic resolution that kept audience’s interested, but the romantic tension and antagonism between the leads, and so the focus shifted from economic barriers to battles of the sexes, in which the leads would banter and bicker throughout the film then abruptly reconcile at the very end, in hasty and often illogical final scenes. Though Some Like It Hot doesn’t feature this kind of romantic/antagonistic dynamic, the ending scene does follow the Screwball tradition of abrupt resolution. The main conflict of Some Like It Hot comes from the outlandish circumstances, tying it more to later screwballs when the “situation comedy” was on the rise. This similarity can be seen strikingly in I Was a Male War Bride, in which incredible circumstances force Cary Grant to dress in drag to pose as his own wife.
|I Was a Male War Bride (1949)|