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2012-11-03 00:07:32 (UTC)


The film Some Like It Hot has won many honours and awards which I won’t list here. It was released in Canada in 1959 six months before I joined the Bahá'í Faith. I was in grade 10 at the time and in love with sport and the girl around the corner. But, until today,1 I knew nothing about the film. I’ve never been much of a film buff working 60 hour weeks and faced with a range of community and social responsibilities, to say nothing of raising 3 children, and being a parent, a husband, a friend as well as several other roles in life. After I retired, though, from the world of jobs and paid employment at the age of 55 in 1999, I began to take a more serious look at films and the film industry.

My first memories of films go back some 60 years to the Roxy Theatre in Burlington Ontario on Saturday afternoons when I watched the Indians getting creamed by the cavalry and the cattlemen. I must have been at the time in middle childhood, say, eight or nine years old in 1952 or 1953. The Baha’is have come to call the year 1953 as the beginning of the Kingdom of God on earth. I was in grade 4 back then and in the beginning of my love affair with Susan Gregory, that girl who lived around the corner of my street in this little town of 5000. Susan had no idea of my feelings for her--for several reasons: my shyness, the social conventions of my society, the society of this little town in the Golden Horseshoe of Ontario in the early 1950s, and much else if I give the subject more thought.

Roger Ebert, the famous syndicated film-reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote in 2000 in the first line of his review of Some Like It Hot that the work of art and nature in this film is Marilyn Monroe. The film, Ebert says, is really only about sex, and the famous actor Tony Curtis is the man, in the film and in life, who only wants sex. Curtis is symbolic of the millions of men who looked, and still look, at Monroe adoringly and melt with helpless desire. The film has many mesmerizing and blatant sexual scenes. Monroe, says Ebert, had more sexual chemistry with the camera than any other actor, male or female, before or since.2-Ron Price with thanks to 1SBS TV, “Once Upon A Time: Some Like It Hot,” 3:30-4:30 p.m., 21 March 2009; and 2Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 9 January 2000 at

Back in ’59 I was playing
baseball and hockey, and
trying to ace another year
of high school. My sexual
taps were into full control;
I knew little of M. Monroe,
hardly ever had any look at
Playboy Magazine which had
been out in the marketplace for
six years at the time. I already
had begun to melt-mesmerized
by life’s sexual chemistry, but
in ’59 my interests were far, far.....


post-Stalinist Russia and communism,
Mississippi’s burning-rights far south,
the after-math of the Korean War, Viet
Nam’s early days with the French, the
ideologies’ vending machines, the Left,
the so-called moral emptiness, cultural
mediocrity of contemporary life-Daniel
Bell & S.M. Lipset had written about….
Even Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show
was not part of my world because mother
had sold our TV….nor were comic-strips
nor Vance Packard’s The Status Seekers.

But there was something melancholy about
those years, as I look back, something tragic,
some convulsive craving to be busy, to be
distracted as rock-and-roll woke our world
up from Mr. Clean, Doris Day and General
Ike, from a world without Negroes, & other
religions or genitalia. I slowly woke up to
the birds flying over Akka when I caught
a glimpse in the clearing of smoke from
rifles in the barrack-square of Tabriz and
a new song up from the Siyah-Chal it rose.

1 Vance Packard(1914-1996) was an American journalist, social critic, and author. The Status Seekers was first published in April 1959 in the same month that Some Like It Hot was released.

Ron Price
21 March 2009
Updated: On hearing this week of the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe in August 1962.
With the 50th anniversary this week of the passing of Monroe, I add the following words as an afterthought to my above prose-poem. The post-modern in autobiography and biography tends to doubt everything about both self and society. After examining more than fifty biographies of Marilyn Monroe the postmodernist is left with plausibilities and inscrutabilities but not unreserved truth. This school of thought, postmodernism, sees and deals with multiplicity rather than authenticity. Multiplicity is the object of search for the postmodern analyst and student of human behavior, autobiography, and biography.

If we ultimately can’t be sure of why we did what we did in life, can’t be sure of some authenticity, some basic sincerity and simplicity of explanation in our lives we cannot exercise great control of the process of explaining it retrospectively because of the very complexity of it all. The post-modernists raise many questions about the difficulty, if not the impossibility, of doing genuine, real, authentic biographical and autobiographical work. I find their approach mildly chastening, certainly provocative and stimulating, if at times discouraging.[1] But such an approach provides a general context for the words of John Hatcher, Professor Emeritus of English literature at the University of South Florida: “we cannot possibly evaluate what befalls us or anyone else in terms of whether it ultimately results in justice or injustice or whether it is harmful or beneficial.”[2] We must wait, he goes on, until the afterlife, for the true and final evaluation of the truth and value of our lives and their myriad acts.
[1] A Review of Arnold Ludwig’s “How Do We Know Who We Are? A Biography of the Self,” Oxford University Press, NY, 1997, in Biography, Vol. 22, No.3, Summer 1999.
[2] John Hatcher, The Purpose of Physical Reality, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1987, p.109.