Of the many roles Tony Curtis has played over the years, from a Defiant One to Spartacus’ best buddy, only one could have conceivably won him an Academy Award for Best Actress. So, with Some Like It Hot (1959, MGM, 122 mins.) finally arriving in stores as a Special Edition DVD, we sat down with the 75-year-old Hollywood legend at the Formosa Cafe on Sunset Strip, the very same restaurant that Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe used to frequent some 40 years ago while making what many critics still regard as the funniest film ever lensed. Here’s what Joe/Josephine had to say.
So, are there any ”lost” scenes from the film that will be in the DVD?
It’s not in the DVD, but there was one scene that got cut. It was on the train, after I meet Marilyn in the bathroom and she says that line about always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Jack Lemmon climbs into the berth where he thinks Marilyn is sleeping, but Marilyn and I have switched berths. So he climbs in thinking it’s Marilyn and straddles me and says, ”I’ve got a secret. I’m a man.” That scene got cut out. I think it was too horny or something for the studio.
Didn’t the studio hire a female impersonator to help you get in touch with your feminine side?
Billy Wilder brought a female impersonator to the set to help us learn how to hold our arms so you can’t see the muscles. But that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was wearing these special jocks so our genitalia wouldn’t be noticeable. If you had to pee, it was like a 15-minute experience. I tried rigging myself with one of those things pilots used during the war — a little funnel and tube — but that didn’t work either.
Originally the studio wanted Frank Sinatra instead of Jack Lemmon to play opposite you.
Yeah. Billy Wilder told me he wanted to get Frank Sinatra, and Mitzi Gaynor for the girl. Then about a week later Billy told me he wasn’t going to use Frank. He said Frank would only be trouble. And he said he wanted to get Marilyn instead of Mitzi, even though everybody was warning Billy that Marilyn was going to be a lot of trouble too. He didn’t care. He wanted Marilyn. He wanted her for that love scene with me.
Well, Monroe was difficult, no?
Everybody quotes me as saying that kissing Marilyn was like kissing Hitler. I never said that. I said kissing Marilyn was like f — -ing her, the way she would grind against me. But she did have difficulties. Showing up late. Spending all morning on one or two lines of dialogue. There was nothing laid-back or amusing about Marilyn on that movie. She was drinking a lot on the set. I know she was drinking champagne out of coffee mugs when we were doing that scene [on the train]. She spilled some on me and I knew it was champagne.
Still, she must have been something. You actually got to kiss Marilyn Monroe.
Oh, I did more than kiss her. We knew each other way before then. I met her in 1949. She was just starting out. She was wearing see-through blouses back then. She was luscious. I drove her home from the studio one day in this Buick that I had, and then we ended up going out for about four or five weeks after that. We saw each other quite regularly. But we knew it was never going to work out between us.
Well, you know, rubbing and kissing and all that good stuff — it doesn’t always mean you’re going to fall madly in love.