EntertainmentWhy Some Like It Hot Was Banned In Kansas

Why Some Like It Hot Was Banned In Kansas

In the 1950s, Hollywood’s restrictive “Hays Code” was still in effect. The code imposed rules for the onscreen depiction of, among other things, violence and sexuality. In 1959, United Artists released “Some Like It Hot” to rave reviews. Complete with cross-dressing, gangsters, and innuendo (Monroe’s quip about “the fuzzy end of the lollipop” among the most memorable), the movie flew in direct defiance of the code’s conservative attitude towards sex and gender. While it’s now known as a Marilyn Monroe vehicle, Billy Wilder’s first choice for the part of Sugar Kane was “White Christmas” waif Mitzi Gaynor, while Frank Sinatra was at one point considered for Jack Lemon’s dual role of Daphne/Jerry.

But while the Hays Code was becoming increasingly obsolete, deviating from its guidelines did not come without consequences from outside groups that valued them. On March 5, 1959, the Reverend Thomas F. Little wrote to Production Code Administration Director Geoffrey Shurlock, quoting the Catholic League of Decency’s reaction to the recently released “Some Like It Hot.” 

“‘This film, though it purports to be a comedy, contains screen material elements that are judged to be seriously offensive to Christian and traditional standards of morality and decency,” he wrote. “Furthermore, its treatment dwells almost without relief on gross suggestiveness in costuming, dialogue and situations.'” Shurlock was more liberal than many of his PCA predecessors, though, and on March 18th, he shot back, “Not a single reviewer has been in the slightest way critical of this film, or questioned either its morality or its taste. So far there is simply no adverse reaction at all; nothing but praise for it as a hilariously funny movie.”

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