some like it hot

December 28, 2016 General Studies


I chose to study psychoanalysis for the film “Some like it Hot” because there are many examples of scopophilia, voyeurism, symbolism, fetishism, and the “male gaze.” Directed by Billy Wider in 1959 and starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and of course, Marilyn Monroe. The film was quite shocking at the time, as it involved themes of cross dressing, and overt sexuality from Monroe.

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Freud believed that the act of seeing is more erotic that the actual touch. When Curtis and Lemmon are on the train with the all girl band, they become ultimate voyeurs as they are surrounded by women who think that they, too, are women. Lemmon relates this luck at being thrown in disguise with a crowd of women to a fantasy that he had as a child, being locked up in a pastry shop overnight.

We see the women in various states of undress, pouting and thrusting their buttocks in the air, flexing their bare legs and generally acting as if they were aware of a male audience. In this sense we see through the “male gaze”, these women are acting in a way that men perceive women to act because they are images of sexuality. Even though there are no men around (or so they think) the girls act in a very sexual manner because they are aware of the “male gaze”. And because men see women as sexual in nature, this is how they are portrayed. When we first see Marilyn, she is walking quickly towards the train. The camera focuses on her rotating behind as she sways towards the train. Although she doesn’t say a word and isn’t even aware of the two male leads, the audience is automatically aware of her place in the film as an object of desire. “Look at that! Look at the way she moves! It’s like Jell-O on springs!” says Lemmon’s character, as they watch her walking away.

In the female disguise the two male characters are free to ogle and fantasise about the women, resulting in Curtis telling Lemmon: “Remember, you”re a girl, you”re a girl, you”re a girl” so that he doesn’t get too excited and give the game away.


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