Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon
Plot: When two male musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.
Jack Lemmon wrote that the first sneak preview had a bad reaction with many audience walkouts. Many studio personnel and agents offered advice to Billy Wilder on what scenes to reshoot, add and cut. Lemmon asked Wilder what he was going to do. Wilder responded: "Why, nothing. This is a very funny movie and I believe in it just as it is. Maybe this is the wrong neighborhood in which to have shown it. At any rate, I don't panic over one preview. It's a hell of a movie." Wilder held the next preview in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, and the audience stood up and cheered.
Marilyn Monroe required 47 takes to get "It's me, Sugar" correct, instead saying either "Sugar, it's me" or "It's Sugar, me". After take 30, Billy Wilder had the line written on a blackboard. Another scene required Monroe to rummage through some drawers and say "Where's the bourbon?" After 40 takes of her saying "Where's the whiskey?", 'Where's the bottle?", or "Where's the bonbon?", Wilder pasted the correct line in one of the drawers. After Monroe became confused about which drawer contained the line, Wilder had it pasted in every drawer. Fifty-nine takes were required for this scene and when she finally does say it, she has her back to the camera, leading some to wonder if Wilder finally gave up and had it dubbed.
Marilyn Monroe wanted the movie to be shot in color (her contract stipulated that all her films were to be in color), but Billy Wilder convinced her to let it be shot in black and white when costume tests revealed that the makeup that Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon wore gave their faces a green tinge.
When Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon first put on the female make-up and costumes, they walked around the Goldwyn Studios lot to see if they could "pass" as women. Then they tried using mirrors in public ladies rooms to fix their makeup, and when none of the women using it complained, they knew they could be convincing as women. There is a scene on the train recreating this moment.
Stories of the difficulty that cast and crew had with Marilyn Monroe during the making of this film have grown to almost mythical proportions. In the "farewell" telephone conversation between Monroe and Tony Curtis, her side-to-side eye movements clearly reveal that she was reading her lines directly from an off-screen blackboard. According to Curtis, Monroe was routinely 2 to 3 hours late to the set, and occasionally refused to leave her dressing room.
A preview audience laughed so hard after Daphne's announcement of the engagement to Osgood, that a lot of the dialogue was missed. It was re-shot with pauses (and the maraca gimmick) added to allow for this.
Marilyn Monroe was pregnant during filming.
The resort scenes were filmed entirely at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California. One reason why Billy Wilder chose this location was Marilyn Monroe's ongoing personal problems. He wanted a location where she could live on site and not have to be transported.
Jerry Lewis was offered the role of Jerry/Daphne but declined because he didn't want to dress in drag. When Jack Lemmon received an Oscar nomination for the role that Lewis gave up, Lewis claims he sent him chocolates every year to thank him and now regrets not taking the part.
After shooting was completed, Billy Wilder threw a celebration dinner at his home for cast members and friends. Marilyn Monroe was not invited. The crushed star had to have it explained to her that she had cost the production roughly half a million dollars with her delays and unprofessional behaviour. Wilder had generally unkind things to say about her after this film. When asked if he would do another project with her, he replied, "My doctor and my psychiatrist ... tell me I am too old and too rich to go through this again." After reading some of the things Wilder said about her in print, Monroe called his home and told his wife to please give her husband the message - "to go f*** himself." Wilder changed his tune later, commenting, "It takes a real artist to come on the set and not know her lines and yet give the performance she did."
Billy Wilder was not happy with Tony Curtis falsetto voice as "Josephine" and had it re-dubbed in a recording studio.
While being interviewed by Michael Parkinson, Jack Lemmon said the scene where Marilyn Monroe's character had to get in bed with him on the sleeper train was the only scene she managed to do in one take.
The now-famous closing line, "Nobody's perfect," was actually never intended to make the final film - it was apparently to be replaced by the writers once they thought of something they liked better. I.A.L. Diamond and Billy Wilder each credit the other for the genesis of the line. Wilder later fashioned his own epitaph with the similar line: "I'm a writer, but then nobody's perfect."
The film's closing line "Well, nobody's perfect." was voted as the #48 greatest movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).