When two male musicians witness a mob hit in Chicago, the two disguise themselves as women and join an all-female band headed for a gig in Florida.
Released in 1959 and directed by Billy Wilder, Some Like It Hot, an iconic comedy and cinematic classic, was inevitably going to find its way onto food & a film one month or another, so here we are in June of 2021— let’s get into it!
The very first food or drink moment in Some Like It Hot occurs just a few minutes into the film when we see a casket full of whiskey bottles. Then just a couple minutes further into the film we enter a speakeasy where people are drinking booze from coffee cups in a funeral parlor. When Detective Mulligan takes a seat at one of the tables at the speakeasy, a waiter comes over to him and asks, “What’ll it be, sir?.” When Mulligan says, “Booze.,” the waister responds, “Sorry. We only serve coffee.” Mulligan, confused, asks, “Coffee?,” and when the waiter elaborates saying, “Scotch coffee, Canadian coffee, sour mash coffee…,” Mulligan replies, “Scotch. Make it a demitasse, with soda on the side.” Also during the speakeasy scene a drunkard spill his coffee on a VIP and gets thrown out while yelling, “Hey, I want another cup of coffee.” Instead of “coffee,” the table of VIPs all have glasses of milk, which are confirmed to actually be buttermilk during the police raid.
Following the speakeasy scene there are a few lines of dialogue referencing food including mentions of knockwurst at Moe’s Deli, and pizza, as well as Joe (Tony Curtis) explaining how Jerry (Jack Lemmon) hasn’t been eating well and how his empty stomach has gone to his head.
The next major food or drink moment in the film occurs almost a half hour in when Joe, now Josephine, and Jerry, now Daphne, meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) as she is drinking from a flask. Upon seeing Josephine and Daphne, Sugar offers the flask up to the newcomers, saying, “Hey, you want some? It’s bourbon.”
A few more moments into the film, when everyone on the train has turned in for the night, Daphne tells Sugar, “If you feel you’re coming down with something, my dear, the best thing in the world is a shot of whiskey.” Sugar then asks Daphne, “You’ve got some?, and Daphne tells her “I know where to get it.” Daphne then retrieves the bottle of whiskey from Josephine’s bottom bunk and joins Sugar in their top bunk. The two are drinking from the bottle of whiskey when Sugar asks Delores, “Do you still have that vermouth?,” and when Daphne questions, “Who needs vermouth?,” Sugar replies saying, “We’ve got bourbon. We can make Manhattans.,” to which Daphne responds, “Manhattans? At this time of night?.” Upon hearing about the impromptu party in the upper, one of the women exclaims, “I’ll get cheese and crackers.,” and before we know it drinks and cheese & crackers are being passed around the party bunk. One woman says, “Pass me the peanut butter.,” and another mentions salami before Daphne interjects, proclaiming, “No more food. I’ll have ants in the morning.” A women then asks Josephine, “Hey. Have you got any maraschino cherries on you?.”
Following the spontaneous soiree in the upper, there are a many mentions of food or drink in the dialogue before the next onscreen appearance of food or drink including Osgood Fielding (Joe E. Brown) asking Daphne to dinner, the bell boy telling Josephine he has a bottle of gin stashed away (which we later see him carry), and Sugar sharing an anecdote about her ex sending her down for hot dogs and potato salad at two in the morning, and how when she brought back coleslaw because they were out of potato salad, he threw it in her face.
When Sugar encounters Shell Oil Junior (Joe) on the beach, he tells her that they run up a red-and-white flag when it’s time for cocktails on his yacht, and when Sugar asks, “Who mixes the cocktails? Your wife?,” Junior responds, No, my cocktail steward.” Then when Osgood Fielding invites Daphne to have a littler supper with him on his yacht after the show, Joe relays the message to Jerry, telling him, “Fielding wants to have cold pheasant with you on his yacht.”
When Junior and Sugar later board Fielding’s yacht, Junior asks Sugar, “Would you like a glass of champagne?” Junior then pours a glass of champagne for Sugar before pouring one for himself and when the two cheers their coupes, Junior says, “Well, down the hatch, as we say at sea.,” and Sugar quips, “Bon voyage.,” before they both take a sip of champagne.
After the two enjoy a bit of champagne. Junior lifts a clear cloche off of a silver tray and asks Sugar, “Would you like a little cold pheasant?.” Junior then uses a serving spear to transport some cold pheasant from the tray to a plate before asking Sugar, “Mint sauce or cranberries?,” to which Sugar responds, “How can you think about food at a time like this?” Then as Sugar and Junior continue to talk, Junior takes a drumstick from the platter of cold pheasant and nibbles it. A little while later, Sugar asks Junior if he would like some more champagne and after Sugar brings two freshly poured champagne coupes over to Junior on the couch, he proceeds to down both of them.
Following the champagne and cold pheasant on the yacht, there are more mentions of food and drink in the dialogue including Joe saying to Jerry, “Can’t make an omelette without breakin’ an egg.,” Jerry telling Joe that they could go to South America and eat nothing but bananas, and Sugar looking to drown her sorrows with some bourbon.
The next and final scene to feature food occurs during the banquet scene where all attendees have a half of a grapefruit with a cherry garnish, chilling on ice in a coupe in front of them at the table. At one point Spats picks up his grapefruit half and goes to throw it at one of his henchmen.
In addition to the grapefruit, the other food item featured in the banquet sequence is the massive birthday cake for Spats, which when we first see it, is being decorated in the kitchen. After the cake has been completed, the cake decorating gangsters proceed to hide a man with a machine gun into the hollowed out core of the cake. As the hit man hides in the cake, one of gangsters tells him, “And don’t mess up the cake. I promised to bring back a piece to my kids.”
The birthday cake is then brought out the Spats, complete with lit candles. Following the birthday song and subsequent successful hit on the birthday boy, Detective Mulligan enters the banquet room and asks, “What happened here?,” to which Little Bonaparte replies, “There was somethin’ in that cake that didn’t agree with ’em.” Detective Mulligan responds, “My compliments to the chef. Nobody leaves this room till l get the recipe.”
For my Some Like It Hot-inspired food pairing, I knew I needed some cheese and crackers on the menu so I decided to put together a vegan cheese plate. I also wanted to have some “cold pheasant” so I included a few vegan drumsticks and accompanied them with dollops of both cranberry and mint sauces.
Then for something a bit sweeter, I included a half of a grapefruit, complete with vegan maraschino cherry garnish. And of course, I had to have a Manhattan cocktail on the menu.
Finally, for my table setting, inspired by the silver screen, I used a lightly lavender-hued silver fabric as a tablecloth, as well as added a small arrangement of white roses, similar to the ones Osgood Fielding sends to Daphne.
And that does it for June’s installment of food & a film! Thank you so much for tuning in, and be sure to check back next month for another new entry!