One of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker, Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole is legendary for both its cutting social critique and its status as a hard-to-find cult classic. Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter caught in dead-end Albuquerque who happens upon the story of a lifetime—and will do anything to ensure he gets the scoop. Wilder’s follow-up to Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé that anticipated the rise of the American media circus. —The Criterion Collection
Originally planning to become a lawyer, Billy Wilder abandoned that career in favor of working as a reporter for a Viennese newspaper, using this experience to move to Berlin, where he worked for the city’s largest tabloid. He broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929, and wrote scripts for many German films until Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Wilder immediately realized his Jewish ancestry would cause problems, so he emigrated to Paris, then the US. Although he spoke no English when he arrived in Hollywood, Wilder was a fast learner, and thanks to contacts such as Peter Lorre (with whom he shared an apartment), he was able to break into American films. His partnership with Charles Brackett started in 1938 and the team was responsible for writing some of Hollywood’s classic comedies, including Ninotchka (1939) and Ball of Fire (1941). The partnership expanded into a producer-director one in 1942, with Brackett producing, and the two turned out such classics… read more
No longer is Billy Wilder attacking Hollywood and its croonies, now his fiery cynicism is against us all - how we all feed upon tragedy. His most brilliant film.
The status of Ace in the Hole as Billy Wilder’s follow-up to Sunset Boulevard is evident in the opening shot of Kirk Douglas riding on a car as it is being towed. Here is a man reveling sardonically… read review
and when i though this is just another Billy Wilder film in the same vein with Sunset Boulevard, and said the word ‘Billy Wilder is so fuc***n overrated’ (the first 30 minutes makes me worry,i’m already… read review
All great artists know that it is impossible to understand human nature and experience without looking at the extremes of greatness and vileness. Film noir prefers looking at the vile and Ace in the… read review