This source looks at Billy Wilder’s social life and career. The fourteenth chapter is the most relevant regarding the movie Some Like it Hot. In this chapter there are many details and quotes concerning Billy Wilder’s relationship with Marilyn Monroe and the many trials of making a movie with a star. Wilder was very patient with Marilyn whose temper was tolerated because her talent was immense. Wood’s book also slips in historical and external aspects affecting the making of Some Like it Hot. For example during the time when the movie was being shot Marilyn’s husband Arthur Miller was under investigation for communist allegiances, and later in the production she became pregnant (a baby which was miscarried one of the last days of shooting). This small bit of information might explain Marilyn’s exceptionally unruly temperament during this productions making.
Some Like it Hot was so much more than just another Wilder film, the entire survival and later success of the Mirisch Company a fairly new instillation in Hollywood at the time, was dependant on this movies success. This book does an excellent job of interweaving Hollywood politics, Wilders life, and movie making process to paint a full picture of the framework for one of the greatest comedies of all time.
In assessing this source it was determined to be reliable in its factual representation of the surrounding Wilders life. Written fairly early the author had access to many first hand sources for information about Wilders life.
Born near in a small town near Vienna, Billy Wilder would come from humble beginnings to later develop into an infamous producer, whose movies that have stood the test of time. Bernard Dick’s book observes Wilders life through a very appropriate lens, his life’s work. Each of Wilders films seems to exhibit a character or signature of sorts that only the best of directors are capable of creating. In this biography of sorts each movie is treated as a venue through which the reader can understand Wilders life, and directing/producing styles that made him capable enough to transform a mediocre screen play into a box office hit.
One impressive signature of many of Wilders movies is his ability to make the characters in the film very human despite fantastical situations and unbelievable occurrences. Chapter 7 of Bernard Dick’s book called, “The Human Comedies: Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, and Avanti!” address’ Wilders humanizing ability. In Some Like it Hot Wilder was able to make Daphne and Josephine (Joe and Jerry in drag) into relatable feminine figures despite the slapstick parody driven comedy of the plot and the insanity of their drag charade. Several pages of this chapter are centered upon looking at how Wilder uses comedy to enhance not substitute for character depth. Despite their antics Joe/Josephine and Jerry/Daphne are very human with emotional vulnerabilities, and individual personalities. One simple example the book offers reference the scene in the movie when Jerry decided that he wants his drag name to be Daphne, instead of Geraldine (an easy feminine twist to his name). The look on his face when deciding this is one of satisfaction, you see Jerry becoming comfortable in him feminine role and this makes the viewer more comfortable as well. Though this may seem simple little decisions such as this are what give the characters real personality.
As a source this book provides well thought out and researched insights into Billy Wilder’s life and movies. The bibliography is selective which leaves some vagueness regarding the credibility of some of the material. Additionally, some of the insights into the movies and their meanings seem to be opinion based and therefore more biased and less steadfast.