In 1958 a trio of actors checked into the Hotel Del Coronado to film what would become the most lauded comedy of all time – Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT.
Over sixty years on the movie is just as laugh-out-loud funny with utterly irresistible, award-winning performances from screen legends Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, pictured here during what is said to be one of the happiest times in her life.
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If you are lucky enough to be in Coronado when the movie is shown al fresco on the beach or in one of the island parks, you will hear a cheer go up as the Hotel Del makes its scene-stealing first appearance…
The Hotel Del Coronado plays the role of the Seminole Ritz in Florida, as you can see from the side of the bus as Sweet Sue & Her Society Syncopators disembark with abundant luggage.
Marilyn plays singer Sugar Kane, accompanied here by Tony Curtis dressed as his drag alter ego Josephine – a disguise created to shield him from the mob after witnessing the St Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago.
The film was released in 1959 but set in 1929 and director Billy Wilder opted to film in black and white so the leading men’s make-up would look less garish and more realistic.
Here’s Jack Lemmon skipping up the steps as Daphne, the double bass player of the band. You can see the Del’s famous Dragon Tree in the top right corner, still thriving today.
Tony Curtis cuts a dash as the third character he plays in the movie – “Shell Oil Junior” – while mischievously spoofing Cary Grant’s distinctive voice.
As Marilyn and Jack Lemmon (as Daphne) towel off after a Pacific swim, you can clearly see the Point Loman headland in the background.
Over 60 years on you can still find Coronado locals who remember Marilyn Monroe coming to town, standing rapt behind a single cord to watch her shoot these iconic beach scenes.
The Del’s ocean-facing rooms create the perfect backdrop. You can still enjoy the beach beneath a stripy parasol today.
The border between the hotel and the sand has changed from steps to a grassy lawn which becomes an ice rink for the winter holiday season and a long boardwalk popular with cyclists, joggers and dog walkers!
Following a night of tango-ing under the stars, Osgood Fielding III (Joe E Brown) continues to woo Daphne beside the Dragon Tree at the front of the Del. (And here comes Tony Curtis on his bicycle in the background!)
Tony Curtis helps Marilyn disembark from Osgood’s speedboat in a scene filmed across from Del at Glorietta Bay.
So there you have it – a romantic comedy that enchants as enduringly as its Coronado backdrop.
To glimpse some of these scenes in motion, you can watch the SOME LIKE IT HOT trailer here:
READ ROGER EBERT’S REVIEW OF SOME LIKE IT HOT HERE!
Coronado’s Public Library has a copy of the Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion by Laurence Maslon, if you want to read all about the behind-the-scenes story of filming and view a collection of stunning images.
You can also find Marilyn Monroe/Some Like It Hot memorabilia at the Hotel Del Coronado gift shops.