Ace in the Hole 1951

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(20) IMDb 8.2/10
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A cave collapse in New Mexico traps a man, and all eyes turn toward the tragedy, including those of Charles "Chuck" Tatum (Kirk Douglas), a washed-up newspaper reporter who sees the incident as a ticket back to his former days at the top of the journalism heap. As the media circus begins to swirl around the trapped man's plight, Tatum takes command of the situation, embellishing the unfolding drama and prolonging the rescue effort - while feeding stories to the nation's reporters clamoring to cover the event. He's become the self-anointed mastermind behind what soon becomes a national media sensation - and he's desperately determined to milk it for all it is worth. Celebrated director Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, The Apartment) mixes gritty cynicism with a superb cast - Douglas, Jan Sterling (The High and the Mighty), Robert Arthur (Just For You), Frank Cady (The Bad Seed) - in this powerful, fascinating study of the dark side of the human soul.

Starring:
Frank Cady, Richard Benedict
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 51 minutes
Starring Frank Cady, Richard Benedict, John Berkes, Frances Dominguez, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Ray Teal, Lewis Martin, Porter Hall, Kirk Douglas
Director Billy Wilder
Genres Crime, Drama
Studio EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 5 May 2014
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature parental_guidance
Runtime 1 hour 51 minutes
Starring Frank Cady, Richard Benedict, John Berkes, Frances Dominguez, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Ray Teal, Lewis Martin, Porter Hall, Kirk Douglas
Director Billy Wilder
Genres Crime, Drama
Studio EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 5 May 2014
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Nov. 2007
Format: DVD
"Don't worry, Leo. I'm your pal." That's Chuck Tatum speaking. He's a hot-shot big city reporter who has been fired from every top paper he's ever worked for. Now he's hit bottom. He works for the Albuquerque Sun=Bulletin, a small town daily which puts yard sales on its front page. Tatum needs the job, but he's determined to find that one big ticket story that'll put him back in New York. The man he's talking to is going to be that big ticket. His name is Leo Mimosa, owner of the desolate, dusty Mimosa's Indian Curios ("Gas and Oil, Drinks on Ice") in Escudero, in New Mexico's high desert. Leo is currently 300 feet underground, trapped in a cave-in while looking for ancient Indian pots he can sell for a few hundred dollars. In the next 111 minutes, covering five or so days, we're going to experience so much corruption of the soul, misplaced trust and consuming ambition...leavened by so little humanity...that we'll want to take a bath afterwards. This is one of director Billy Wilder's greatest pictures. For me, it's permeated not by Wilder's famously sardonic outlook toward humanity but by the inevitability of commonplace tragedy. That there are only one or two people we might think well of isn't so much a limitation as an element that sharpens the fascination with great story-telling combined with vivid acting.

While Tatum controls his big story, and while Leo becomes increasingly desperate, to the point of believing Tatum is his only friend, we encounter a cast of characters who are either stupid and venal or sly and venal. Top of the list is Tatum, himself. Kirk Douglas gives an utterly believable portrait of a man, excellent at his job, who can taste the big-time again and is determined to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
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By Mr. R. Powell on 20 Mar. 2015
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
When Billy Wilder, the Director of this classic movie, was once asked why he thought the film had been a commercial flop he answered "The American public wanted sugar, I gave them vinegar". The American public's sweet tooth deprived them of the chance to see a true classic. This is just the kind of movie that those who criticise Hollywood think it is incapable of producing, and yet here is a movie directed by one of its top directors and starring one of its top stars that looks directly into the dark soul of the media, the American public and the American democratic system, no wonder America found it difficult to cope with this movie.

The plot involves Kirk Douglas as Chuck Tattum a journalist whose drinking and womanising has had him kicked off the country's top newspapers. He finds himself in Albuquerque working on the local paper, trying to convince everyone they are in the presence of greatness. One day, when sent out to cover a rattlesnake safari, he stumbles across a man trapped down some ancient mine workings. He quickly writes a story with a headline about a man trapped by an ancient curse and watches as it captures the public imagination and they start flooding in to see it for themselves. But when he becomes aware that the rescue will only take a day he uses the local sheriff, who he convinces he can get re-elected in the upcoming election, to convince the rescuers to go in the long way. It will take a week but will guarantee Tatum the story, and perhaps the Pulitzer, he feels he deserves. And here Wilders cynicism really kicks in.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Nobody VINE VOICE on 9 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
Ace In The Hole was written, produced & directed by American cinema legend Billy Wilder in 1951 following his success with `Sunset Boulevard'. Wilder only began directing in order to protect his scripts and this film is testament to that. Ace In The Hole is as bitingly cynical and pessimistic a film you'll get. I rate it alongside `Sweet Smell Of Success' (1957, Mackendrick) and `Network' (1976, Lumet) for its bleak vision of the media and our complicity in it. Kirk Douglas stars in what has to be regarded as one of his greatest performances as irredeemable reporter Charles Tatum who'll stop at nothing for a story. No punches are pulled here; this is hard-boiled with some excellent memorable dialogue. Cinematography was by Charles B. Lang (A Foreign Affair; Some Like It Hot; The Big Heat).

Criterion have excelled again with this wonderful presentation boasting a superb transfer with excellent contrast as well as many extras including an informative commentary. Other extras are included on a bonus disc.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Charles R. Day on 17 July 2007
Format: DVD
This is another classic Billy Wilder movie which,like Kiss Me Stupid, was sorely underestimated when first released. Whereas the public of the time was not ready for a comedy like 'Kiss' with its controversial moral values, this drama punched too hard at the American way and cynical journalism. This is one of the four best films Kirk Douglas made (the other three are Paths of Glory, Lonely Are The Brave and Spartacus). I have been waiting a long time for this one and the only work of Wilder's I would give it up for is the Peter Sellars footage of Kiss Me Stupid (dream on). Billy Wilder's films range from (with the exception of Buddy Buddy)very good to great and this is undoubtedy in the latter category. Anyone interested in well made intelligent films (the kind where you get really annoyed at the moronic voice overs at the end credit roll when they are shown on TV) should give this one top priority.
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