My seven year old daughter Millie has recently become an enthusiastic Marilyn Monroe fan, after watching, and loving, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She danced along to the numbers like I never could.
Next in her sights was Some Like It Hot, after watching a trailer for it on YouTube. We had not gotten around to watching it yet, despite it being locked and loaded in the DVD player for some time, when I saw online that it was being shown at the cinema in Manchester. I have no idea why it was being shown, it having been made fifty-six years ago and all, and so not an anniversary or anything, but I figured that this could well be the only chance for Millie, and I, to see this classic (and Marilyn) on the big screen. So off we went into Manchester this morning, Millie singing to herself on the bus : “I wanna be loved by you, alone, boop-boop-de-boop.”
(You have no idea how difficult that was to type with my vindictive autocorrect continually cutting in.)
As it was only 10.30am, the cinema was quiet when we arrived. Nobody in the queue. So, technically, then, there wasn’t even a queue. Only two members of staff were manning ticket sales. They jumped to attention (if that is possible in a sitting position), and greeted us as the first customers of the day.
“Hi,” (my warmest smile), “can I have an adult and a child to see Some Like It Hot, please.”
A young student-type guy turned to his screen. “Of course…..one adult and one child to see Some Like….” His voice trailed off as he peered at his shielded screen, a puzzled look on his face.
I was suddenly struck by self-doubt. The film, the old film, wasn’t on after all. I had either read it wrong, or Odeon had had the temerity to email me-they approached me, with the wrong information. I had wondered why it was being shown, and only once too:Thursday, eleven o’clock.
The eyebrows of Puzzled Cinema Salesman suddenly lifted in surprise:“Oh, it IS showing…” He punched a few keys then turned to us. “What exactly is it?”
“It’s an old one, with Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe.”
“I didn’t even know we were showing it.”
“Why are you showing it?” I asked, without realising that any significance would not be known by someone who didn’t even realise it was on in the first place.
He shrugged. Then his female colleague, sat beside him, piped up: “You’ve never heard of Some Like It Hot?” Again, the enigmatic shrug. She piled the pressure on further: “You’ve not seen that scene where Marilyn is walking along the platform, and all that steam shoots out from the train, and the guys are just stood there with their jaws open?” Ah yes-that scene.
Of course he hadn’t. I tried to help him out. “Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon witness a hit and have to go on the run from the mob. They dress up as women and join Marilyn Monroe’s all-female musical band.”
Blank stare. Slight shake of the head. Maybe it was an age thing. I was about twenty years older than him. The film was twelve years older than me. I added one final thing, defensively, as though justifying why we were there. “It was voted the all-time greatest comedy in Hollywood history.”
As his colleague sympathetically nodded her head, he merely handed me the tickets and said “I might slip in and check it out.” I didn’t believe him.
We made our way towards the escalator that lifted us up to those magical silver screens. That are white.
As we did, I glanced back to see the lad’s regulated smile back in place as he welcomed a Scandinavian-sounding couple, complete with kids in tow. The man opened his wallet, and I heard him say “Two adults and two children for Some Like It Hot, please.”
The lad actually sank back in his chair. If it didn’t sound so dramatic, I would have said he collapsed back, the air knocked out of him, no doubt wondering about this celluloid phenomenon that had somehow slipped by his guard. Finger on the pulse, kid, finger on the pulse.
I chuckled all the way up with an entirely perplexed young girl by my side.
The cinema-experience of the movie was great, almost allowing me to believe that we were watching a film back in the halcyon times of Hollywood’s golden era, when the films were short on special effects but big on story and acting. The effect of Monroe’s luminosity was evident for all to see, huge and imposing, dominating the screen. The partnership of Curtis and Lemmon was inspired, my daughter particularly giggling along to Lemmon’s comic capers. (She did call the Curtis-Monroe kissing scenes as gross, though.)
She is now asking me about The Seven Year Itch.
Come on Odeon, let’s do this! Imagine that dress blowing up above the subway grate-thirty feet high!
I shall scour all of your future emails eagerly. And it would be really cool if you could arrange for that same employee to be working, too.