101 Masthead

Diamond & Wilder Trivia
I.A.L. Diamond & Billy Wilder

 

9. Some Like It Hot
Screenplay by Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
Based on Fanfare of Love, a German film written by Robert Thoeren and M. Logan

Some facts about the writing of the film:

I.A.L. Diamond – Born Itek Domnici in Romania, was raised in Brooklyn.

• Diamond reportedly added the initials “A.L.” after the “I.' (for Isadore or Israel) because he thought they looked interesting after the “I.” Another version of this story has Diamond claiming the initials standing for “Interscholastic Algebra League,” to which Diamond belonged in school. He was called “Iz” in Hollywood. –multiple sources

• “When shooting a picture, Wilder and his collaborator write on weekends at the studio, preferably on the set. The practice of weekend writing is pursued because Wilder has the unique theory that it is a mistake to have a finished script before shooting starts. He likes to feel free to change the script to make the most of any ideas that arise during filmmaking.”–The New York Times, 1/24/60

• Diamond on Billy Wilder: “When you've written with Billy and then go back to writing for a studio, it's like being traded from the major leagues to the minors. You'll have a scene written that would please anyone else and Billy will say, 'All right. Let's put this in the bank and see if we can get something better.'”

• Loosely based on Fanfaren der liebe (1951, Germany), which was based on another film, Fanfare d'Amour (1935, France). The German film features two desperate musicians dressing up as musicians and as girls. No gangsters are involved. –IMDB

Some Like It Hot Trivia • “You can't make this work, Billy. Blood and jokes do not mix.”–Producer David O. Selznick to Billy Wilder after Wilder described the project to him. Wilder called Some Like It Hot “a combination of Scarface and Charley's Aunt [the 1892 stage farce about cross-dressing].” – Richard Corliss, Time, 10/30/2001

• Inside jokes: “Moviegoers of a certain age would also recognize a few old movie tropes, like the grapefruit George Raft starts to push in henchman Harry Wilson's face (as James Cagney did to Mae Clarke in The Public Enemy) and the coin-toss mannerism that young punk Edward G. Robinson Jr. affects. When Raft sees him, he asks sarcastically, 'Where did you pick up that cheap trick?' From the 1932 underworld classic Scarface, where Raft did it.”–Richard Corliss, Time, 10/30/2001

• Wilder: “Now we needed a line for Joe E. Brown and could not find it. But somewhere in the beginning of our discussion, Iz [Diamond] said: 'Nobody's perfect.' And I said: 'Look, let's go back to your line. . . Let's send it to the mimeograph department so that they have something, and then we're going to really sit down and make a real funny last line.' We never found the line, so we went with 'Nobody's perfect.' –Cameron Crowe, Conversations With Wilder

• “The script for Some Like It Hot was not completed until four days before shooting was finished.”–The New York Times, 1/24/60

• Steve Allen attended a preview of the film in Pacific Palisades. He was the only person in a packed theater who laughed. A second preview was extremely successful. –The Independent, 4/15/2001

• Wilder's tips #10 & 11 for writers: “10. The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then– 11. –That's it. Don't hang around.” –Cameron Crowe, Conversations With Wilder

Read a page from the screenplay of Some Like It Hot.