25 minutes into Some Like It Hot, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis suddenly appear in skirts, wigs and high heels, and somehow it’s not a stopper. They’re dead broke, remember, so how did they manage the transformation? Easy — they borrowed the apparel from one or two or the showgirls they knew.

Months before Tootsie opened on 12.17.82, I did a lot of making-of research for two stories I was writing, and I heard a lot about how difficult it was to create Dustin Hoffman‘s “Dorothy” look. Weeks and weeks of makeup and wardrobe tests, trying on different wigs, trial and error. And yet in Tootsie, Hoffman’s Michael Dorsey manages to create “Dorothy Michaels” within a few hours or at least overnight.

And I didn’t buy this, Right away I was asking myself, “Where did he get the garb and makeup and whatnot?” All director Sydney Pollack had to do was insert a mention of Bill Murray‘s “Jeff Slater”, Dorsey’s roommate, having acquired a closetful of women’s clothing from an upstate theatre company that’s gone bust. Then I would have bought the makeover.

Also: I read a couple of drafts of Tootsie early on, and there was a perfect Act One scene. Michael and Jeff are working as waiters in a swanky Manhattan eatery, and Dorsey is horrified to discover an ex-girlfriend and some rich guy being seated in his section of tables. Dorsey begs Slater to wait on them, but Slater is too busy or hassled about something else. Dorsey has no choice. The shocked ex-girlfriend is embarassed for him but tries to be as polite and supportive as possible — and it’s mortifying.

A great moment, I said to myself when I read it. Excruciating and relatable. And it wasn’t used.

Plus Pollack decided to shoot Tootsie in widescreen Panavision (2.39:1), and that didn’t seem to fit Tootsie, which at heart is an intimate indoor comedy about quirky shownbiz tyes. Why the panaromic aspect ratio? Wrong call, I decided.

Because of these three issues I wasn’t completely in love with Tootsie, I would never argue that it’s not funny or not good enough (it’s fine), but in my mind it’s a 7.5 or at most an 8 — a B-plus effort.