Archive for November 20th, 2008


by Kaleem Hasan

Billy Wilder is one of the genuine American movie greats with masterpieces like The Apartment, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard and a host of other excellent works. My own weakness within his oeuvre is for his late gem Avanti but his greatest work to my mind is the very dark Ace in the Hole. This movie is now available for the first time on DVD (anywhere) in a gorgeous Criterion transfer and this is therefore the best time to visit the film outside a movie theater.

The plot in a very skeletal sense concerns a cynical newspaper reporter (Kirk Douglas) who drifts into an ‘edge of empire’ town in New Mexico, lands a job and a year later finds an assignment that becomes life-altering for him. As in many other Wilder works Ace in the Hole features much social commentary but unlike just about any of his other works there is a strong visionary intensity to the narrative. Most importantly Wilder (as was his wont) eschews easy and conformist resolutions. (more…)

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