TV choice: David Thomson's Movie of the week

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The Independent Culture

It was Christmas Eve in the English home. What's on the box? said Dad. What do you want? asked Mum. Something with a massacre, said Gran. And gender-swapping, said the twins in unison. I like a good gangster picture, said Uncle Reg. So long as Christmas isn't mentioned, said Olaf (no family's perfect). What about a bit of filth? asked Auntie Mona. "Some Like It Hot", then, said Mum. If Billy Wilder's screwballing classic is less than seasonal, it is a riot (running wild, lost control, sings Marilyn Monroe) as two Chicago musicians become hapless victims of the St Valentine's Day massacre and go undercover as Geraldine and Josephine in an all-girl band. Who's the singer with the band? Sugar Kane (MM) - that's who. And as Tony Curtis woos her, as a traumatised Cary Grant who can't get an erection (could we try again? he asks meekly), so Jack Lemmon is pursued by Joe E Brown, a millionaire who collects dolls. Not that it matters on Christmas Eve 1999, but in 1959 Wilder and his co-writer, I A L Diamond, hurled the comic movie 30 or 40 years forward. Nothing is real here; everything is camp, quoted and innuendo. In one bound, Hollywood had found a serene state of confusion, all based on happy imperfection.