Ace In The Hole (1951) Blu-Ray
Just a very quick capsule review to heartily recommend the new Masters Of Cinema Blu-Ray release of Billy Wilder’s prophetic 1951 picture Ace In The Hole. I’ve just finished watching this fantastic picture and the solid documentary extras, and we’ve not gone old school here for a while so I thought ‘why not?’;
Kirk Douglas stars as a deeply cynical, alcoholic, womanising newspaperman whom has been thrown out of all the major newsrooms in the country due to his misbehaviour, exiled to the quiet desert plains of Albuquerque he stumbles across the tragic tale of a miner trapped alive in a remote cavern. Never one to evade an opportunity he whips the story up across lurid tabloid headlines, and a media and social carnival coalesces around the poor mans ticking fate. This film is so far ahead of its time its scary considering the current DNA of the modern media, with immoral, profit whoring wretches of humanity whipping public opinion up for their own financial and social gain, like Lumet’s Network (made 25 years later) if you want to chart the history of the modern media through cinema these are two essential texts;
It’s so rare to detect such unadulterated acidic condemnation of American society in studio product of that era, not to mention the willingness of major stars willing to play such execrable excuses of humanity in major projects – that doesn’t happen often these days does it? Bountiful extras include a decent half hour context setting discussion of the picture with film scholar Neil Sinyard, more importantly it has an impeccably candid one hour Michel Ciment hosted interview from 1982 with Wilder which ruminates over his entire career, an appropriately beloved memoir amongst serious cinephiles. It’s a fascinating oral history from a lynchpin of the studio system taking us through his early career in Germany before fleeing the Nazi’s to the studio system and the fertile new world of California, with plenty of anecdotes on his dalliances with Marilyn, Bogart and just about every other golden era star, and his hilarious battles with the philistine studio executives. It’s essential stuff for movie fans and one of the years best home consumption releases (the crisp transfer is also impeccable), more dimple-chinned Douglas soon as a certain World War I picture has recently been blessed with a BFI restoration…..