Musicians Joe and Jerry accidentally witness the St. Valentines Day Massacre and flee mobsters by joining an all-girl band bound for Miami - disguised as Josephine and Daphne. Both are taken with the bands singer, Sugar Kane, but Daphne attracts the att
“Nobody’s perfect,” says its famous last laugh. But this scintillating comedy is! Wilder and Diamond’s script, which springs out of Chicago’s infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929, alarmed bosses, who predicted outrage and disaster. At the time, mixing female impersonation, romantic comedy and murder stretched the limits of taste and genre formula. But when Wilder put together gangsters, wise-cracking, cross-dressing heroes and Marilyn Monroe, he wrought a laugh riot played by an inspired cast.
Key to its success - along with its vivid characters and brilliant performances - is the snappy pace throughout. Non-stop gags, invention, twists and comic incident flow, as Joe and Jerry - sexy Curtis and screamingly funny Lemmon - elude mob boss George Raft by wriggling into an all-girl jazz band, with Josephine and Daphne’s legendary drag act taking in amorous adventures, seductive deceptions and madcap pursuits.
Wilder never wastes time explaining the obvious. One minute, for instance, Joe affects a falsetto on the phone to line up the job with Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators; next shot we’re following well-muscled calves tottering down a railway platform, the men’s transformation self-evident, and the more startling for it. Among the highlights: Sugar singing Running Wild; Daphne and millionaire Osgood’s tango; Curtis’ impersonation of Cary Grant; and Daphne’s engagement announcement, while Lemmon, on the bed, shakes his maracas in an absurd ecstasy, is a masterpiece of comic timing.
Wilder’s comedy frequently exhibits a vulgar streak, but this is tempered by his Viennese elegance and elevated by his and Diamond’s collaborative, mischievous wit.
A joyful classic which delivers on comedic value no matter how many times you've seen it.