Obviously it’s not a traditional song-and-dancer, but if you accept that performative musicals are legitimate permutations and that A Hard Day’s Night and Cabaret are two prime examples, you have to allow that Some Like It Hot also qualifies.
We all understand that classic integrated musicals are about characters breaking into song to express deep-down emotions. But musicals can also be defined as films in which the emotional states of major characters pop through as musical numbers. The key is that separate songs have to be heard three times.
It doesn’t matter if the musical numbers are integrated or performative (a la Some Like It Hot, A Hard Day’s Night and Cabaret). The point is that the songs are (a) telling the audience how this or that main character is feeling, or (b) conveying some aspect of the social milieu, or (c) both.
There are four songs performed in Some Like It Hot — “Runnin’ Wild”, “By The Sea”, “I Wanna Be Loved By You” and “I’m Through With Love.” They convey the successive moods of Marilyn Monroe‘s Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk (and to a lesser extent those of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon‘s Joe and Jerry) as the story moves from Chicago to Miami and as Sugar falls for (and then temporarily loses) “Junior”, the phony Shell Oil heir played by Curtis’s Joe.
The four songs also embroider SLIH in a Cabaret-like way with a fizzy reflection of the late 1920s (jazz bands, madcap attitudes, Chicago gangsters, flappers with great gams, pint flasks, pre-stock market crash hedonism).
Earlier today HE’s “filmklassik” wrote that it’s “absurd” to describe Billy Wilder‘s 1959 classic as a musical. “The emotional state of major characters pops through big-time during the ‘La Marseillaise’ scene in Casablanca,” he wrote. “[By that token] do you consider Casablanca a musical?”
HE reply: No, because (a) the playing of “La Marseillaise” is Casablanca‘s only big number, and a performative musical needs a minimum of three (3) songs. Plus (b) ‘La Marseillaise’ expresses a communal emotion or mood rather than an individual one, or one shared by lovers or close friends.