Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder – The Fortune Cookie (1966)

Synopsis:
While taping a football game, cameraman Harry Hinkle (Jack Lemmon) ends up slightly injured after a collision with star player “Boom Boom” Jackson (Ron Rich). When Hinkle’s scheming brother-in-law, lawyer Willie Gingrich (Walter Matthau), catches wind of the incident, he wants Hinkle to feign paralysis to scam the insurance company. Hinkle agrees to the plan, if only to win back his ex (Judi West). But Hinkle’s growing friendship with a guilt-ridden Jackson has him questioning the ploy. Read More »

Robert Siodmak & Edgar G. Ulmer & Billy Wilder – Menschen am Sonntag (1930)

Criterion wrote:
Years before they became major players in Hollywood, a group of young German filmmakers—including eventual noir masters Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer and future Oscar winners Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann—worked together on the once-in-a-lifetime collaboration People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag). This effervescent, sunlit silent, about a handful of city dwellers (a charming cast of nonprofessionals) enjoying a weekend outing, offers a rare glimpse of Weimar-era Berlin. A unique hybrid of documentary and fictional storytelling, People on Sunday was both an experiment and a mainstream hit that would influence generations of film artists around the world. Read More »

Billy Wilder – One, Two, Three (1961)

Synopsis:
Berlin, after the Second World War: C.R. MacNamara presides over the Coca-Cola branch of Germany. He is working hard and trying his very best to impress the Atlanta headquarters, since he has heard that the European headquarters in London will soon be looking for a new head. Now, Coca-Cola boss Mr. Hazeltine asks MacNamara to take care of his daughter Scarlett, who is going to take a trip to Europe. Scarlett, however, does not behave the way a young respectable girl of her age should: Instead of sightseeing, she goes out until the early morning and has lots of fun. Finally, she falls in love with Otto Piffl, a young man from East Berlin and a flaming Communist, and marries him surprisingly. When MacNamara hears of this, he intrigues quite a bit with the help of his assistant Schlemmer to get Piffl into an East German prison, but when he also gets note of his Boss and wife coming over to visit their daughter in Berlin, he needs to get Piffl out again, convert him to Capitalism and present him as a fine young and noble husband in order to get his London post, and all of that very quick Read More »

Billy Wilder – Irma la Douce (1963)

Quote:
Just three years after earning Academy Awards for Best Picture and Director for 1960’s The Apartment, Billy Wilder re-teamed with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine for another look at love and relationships. But this time the drab New York insurance building was traded for the bawdy streets of Paris, and secretaries replaced with prostitutes. Once again, Wilder poked fun at the taboo subject of sex and again, his instincts paid off: Irma La Douce was Wilder’s biggest commercial success yet, and received three Academy Award nominations, winning one for Andre Previn’s lush score. Read More »

Billy Wilder – Sunset Blvd. (1950) (HD)

Quote:
An aging silent film queen refuses to accept that her stardom has ended. She hires a young screenwriter to help set up her movie comeback. The screenwriter believes he can manipulate her, but he soon finds out he is wrong. The screenwriters ambivalence about their relationship and her unwillingness to let go leads to a situation of violence, madness, and death. Read More »

Billy Wilder – Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Quote:
One of Wilder’s finest, and certainly the blackest of all Hollywood’s scab-scratching accounts of itself, this establishes its relentless acidity in the opening scene by having the story related by a corpse floating face-down in a Hollywood swimming-pool. What follows in flashback is a tale of humiliation, exploitation, and dashed dreams, as a feckless, bankrupt screenwriter (Holden) pulls into a crumbling mansion in search of refuge from his creditors, and becomes inextricably entangled in the possessive web woven by a faded star of the silents (Swanson), who is high on hopes of a comeback and heading for outright insanity. Read More »

Billy Wilder – Ace in the Hole (1951)

Review:
All Movie
A movie truly ahead of its time, Ace in the Hole (also known as The Big Carnival) turned out to be too bitter and cynical for moviegoers in 1951. An unrelenting portrait of media sensationalism and the human obsession with tragedy that propels it, the film is based on a true story that also spawned Robert Penn Warren’s novel The Cave. Director, screenwriter, and producer Billy Wilder suffered perhaps the biggest commercial and critical failure of his career with Ace, losing much of his standing at Paramount, even though the movie was released between two of his most enduring and popular triumphs, Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Stalag 17 (1953). Ace was perhaps not up to the standard of those works, but it clearly stands as one of Wilder’s many achievements. It’s hardly surprising that this film failed to find a mainstream audience, despite the added attraction of emerging star Kirk Douglas in the lead. American culture wouldn’t be ready for such a large dose of pessimism until the 1970s; even then, a film such as 1976’s Network, which clearly paralleled the tone of Wilder’s effort, was dismissed by many viewers as too hysterical. – Brendon Hanley Read More »