Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ace in the Hole

Sunset Boulevard. Double Indemnity. The Apartment. Some Like It Hot. These are titles that most people associated with Billy Wilder. Sometimes, he has titles that aren't as well known.

Journalist Charles Tatum (Kirk Douglas) has recently taken a job at a small New Mexico newspaper. Not a lot of big news come through, so it's almost a relief for Tatum when he becomes aware of a store owner of a nearby town getting trapped in a cave-in. Tatum turns the story into a media frenzy.

How in God's name was Douglas ignored for an Oscar nomination? He handles the role with such intensity it almost hurts. His role of Charles Tatum adds to the list of Billy Wilder anti-heroes (other great examples include Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity and William Holden in Sunset Boulevard). At least Wilder's screenplay got nominated. Like Douglas' performance, the dialogue is so tense it almost hurts. To think the ironically named Ace in the Hole bombed upon its release. Now it's considered a must-see. Go figure.

My Rating: *****

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