The film was based on the German comedy Fanfaren der Liebe (1951), in which two musicians dress in drag to join an all-girls band and end up falling for the lead singer. But aside from the central plot elements, Some Like it Hot does not suffer from a lack of originality. Rather, it takes an already clever premise and injects some of the finest writing ever done.
This time, it’s 1929 Chicago, and saxophonist Joe (Tony Curtis) and bass-player Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are the only two eye-witnesses to the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Hunted by the tommy-gun gangsters of mob boss Spats Columbo (George Raft), the duo decides their only hope is to dress in drag as “Josephine” and “Daphne” and join an all-girl band on a train from Chicago to a Florida beach resort.
Hilarity ensues when: (a) both men fall for the band’s voluptuous singer, Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe); (b) Jerry a.k.a. “Daphne” is courted by one of the resort’s elderly playboys, Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown); and (c) Spats and crew show up at the resort for a bloody gangster conference.