Critical Literature on the Reading Material-Classical Hollywood Narration and Continuity Editing in 'Some Like It Hot'

Topics: Classical Hollywood cinema, Cinema of the United States, Independent film Pages: 9 (3221 words) Published: May 1, 2011
Assignment 1

Since the start of moving images, which was a revolutionary break through into the film industry with pioneers such as the Lumiere Brothers, Buster Keaton, Orson Welles and Billy Wilder the early 20th century looked promising for Hollywood. “the most popular and influential cinema ever invented” The invention of sound recording onto films started during the 1920s and developed rapidly, this ended the ‘silent era’ and opened up many more possibilities for Hollywood. From the research that was undertaken by Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson on the films made by Hollywood between 1917 and 1960 they created the term ‘Classical Hollywood Narrative’. This was a technique used by all film makers, which was a set of ‘unwritten rules’ that they would, follow when filming and producing the story. One of the many films that Hollywood produced was ‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959) directed by Billy Wilder, starring Marilyn Monroe, Joe Lemmon and Tony Curtis, which had both ‘Continuity editing’ and a ‘classical Hollywood narrative’. The director Billy Wilder adapted very quickly to the style of Hollywood in the Golden Age. The film featured two musicians that witnessed the St Valentines massacre in 1929 and they managed to escape the mob by disguising themselves as women and entering a all girls band that are heading to Florida. Throughout the film the couple face endless comical situations and get into deeper trouble especially when they are caught up by their past. Continuity editing is the essence of classical Hollywood narrative, it involves the number of cuts there is within a film. It is so commonly used that, we as the audience will not be able to keep up with the number of cuts there is. It is used to engage the audience with the action taking place within the ‘films world’ and give it the realist effect.

Although there have been many films with the use of the ‘Classical Hollywood Narrative’ technique, ‘Some Like It Hot’ has more to review, where gender lines have been crossed and identities have been switched. Both Lieberfeld and Sanders analyse how the film responds to the transition of the two main characters or heroes as we know have disguised themselves as women to escape danger. “These films' heroes disguise themselves to elude danger or achieve a goal, but disguise also gains them entrée into social worlds that are normally forbidden to them”. This shows that in the contemporary world this would have been illicit and Billy Wilder shows this through images of spillage and overflow, which is linked to scenes of violence and punishment. “By Juxtaposing images of leaks and spills with images of violent retribution, Some Like It Hot links transgression with punishment”. The film was released in the 1959, but set in the 1920s in Chicago, which is portrayed in a negative way through images of bad weather and mobsters shooting at the police and killing each other. The two famous images in the film are when the two heroes witness the St Valentines massacre and the image of them disguised as women, which has become a symbol. “The image of Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dressed as a female musicians in a swing band has become an icon of cross-dressing in popular culture”. When the two heroes change their looks to females and enter an all girls band they head to Florida, which is shown in a very positive way through images of sunshine and the main theme song playing in the background. “Florida is a romantic leisure land “by the beautiful sea”, as the soundtrack informs us”. As time goes on through the film and our heroes arrive in Florida the transition becomes more and more norm, which is also represented in the theme song. “to temporarily lose control, to go “running wild” which is ‘Some Like It Hot’s’ theme song”. This allows the audience to enter the ‘films world’, which restores the realism into the film as at the start, the transition is reflected in images of violence and overflows, whereas here it is shown as being...
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