Moviedrome Mondays: Ace in the Hole (1951)

Since I could not find a youtube video link of Moviedrome presenter Alex Cox introducing legendary director-writer Billy Wilder’s 1951 Film-Noir drama Ace in the Hole, my readers will have to make due with a transcript once again (read here). The episode’s original airdate was July 23, 1989 (read here). When it comes to summing up Wilder career as a whole, I do not know If I can go as far as Cox does here in calling him the cinematic equivalent of Vladimir Nabokov. Cox says that he’s completely cynical, without sentimentality, without remorse, and he’s as great a craftsman with film as Nabokov was with words. – well, that depends on what Wilder film he is talking about. This aspect does apply (at least for me) to three of the four Wilder films he mentioned – Sunset Boulevard, this one and Some Like It Hot, but The Apartment contained some unnecessary sentiment. All that being said, Ace in the Hole is undoubtedly Wilder at his most cynical and I rank it somewhere in the top four of my favorite films from him. Also, when it comes to Cox’s closing paragraph on this film, I could not have said what he said any better (read here). If any of you readers are interested in reading my list of my favorite Billy Wilder films, read here.

Here is a youtube video link to the film’s original theatrical trailer

Also, here is a youtube video link to Director/Screenwriter Josh Olson’s Trailers from Hell commentary on the film


My Favorite Billy Wilder Films

* * * * (Out of * * * *)

1.   Avanti! (1972)

2.   Kiss Me, Stupid (1964)

3.   Some Like It Hot (1959)

4.   Ace in the Hole (1951)

5.   Sunset Boulevard (1950)

6.   Double Indemnity (1944)

7.   Fedora (1978)

8.   The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

* * * 1/2 (Out of * * * *)

1.   Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

2.   The Major and the Minor (1942)

3.   Stalag 17 (1953)

4.   The Fortune Cookie (1966)

5.   One, Two, Three (1961)

6.   The Apartment (1960)