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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Wilder/Douglas Collaboration, 14 Nov. 2011
By 
Keith M - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ACE IN THE HOLE[DVD] ALL REGION--KIRK DOUGLAS JAN STERLING-DIRECTED BY BILLY WILDER... (DVD)
I have just rewatched this film for the first time in around 20 years. I remember it as very good previously, but this recent viewing confirms for me that (along with Paths of Glory) this is Kirk Douglas' career highpoint. The film is also another outstanding piece of writing/direction from Billy Wilder.

The film provides as effective a depiction of 'popular press exploitation' as any in cinema history, as newspaper reporter Douglas looks to exploit the tragic situation of a store owner trapped in an underground cave in the remote New Mexico town of Albuquerque. Given the current News International controversy this is a particularly topical subject, and Wilder treats it in a scathing and brilliant manner, with very few redeeming features. Douglas' central performance pretty much carries the entire film. There is some able support from Porter Hall as his newspaper boss, but otherwise the supporting performances are relatively uninspiring e.g. from Jan Sterling as the wife of the trapped man and from Robert Arthur as Douglas' newspaper assistant. The slow build up from what is initially a handful of spectators to the unfolding tragedy, to ultimately a watching population of many hundreds of people from across the US is spectacular and brilliantly done.

The film also contains one of the most dramatic (and superbly shot) endings in Hollywood cinema.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Kirk, 22 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: ACE IN THE HOLE[DVD] ALL REGION--KIRK DOUGLAS JAN STERLING-DIRECTED BY BILLY WILDER... (DVD)
A brilliant portrayal of the worst side of human nature and Kirk does a cracking turn as the self serving journalist whipping the baying public into a frenzy. And in the light of the recent media frenzy over the chilean miners while deaths in China were widely ignored. Although some of the action can seem a little tame by modern standards this remains a classic of its time. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Lost" classic Billy Wilder, 5 April 2012
By 
Tim Kidner "Hucklebrook Hound" (Salisbury, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ACE IN THE HOLE[DVD] ALL REGION--KIRK DOUGLAS JAN STERLING-DIRECTED BY BILLY WILDER... (DVD)
I believe I've seen all Billy Wilder films...except this one eluded me. Why in the name of Good Cinema is it not well known and available as a proper DVD release? Why does it take the Koreans to produce the only (as far as I'm aware) means of buying it? I've never, ever seen it on TV and could hardly have seen it when it came out as I'd have been minus 15 years old!

That's the rant over (justified!) and here's to a classic Kirk Douglas and Wilder collaboration. As with his 'The Fortune Cookie', Billy really lays on the spot-on satire about the greed of modern America. And how apt that still is today, with newspaper's hacking mobile phones etc.

Douglas is a not-so-young journalist of the thuggish kind who just keeps the wrong side of being a "louse". Having lost all credibility in big-time New York, he begs and weedles his way into getting a job on a small-time local rag in the desert. Soon, he has found his gold-digging honeypot of a story - a married man who's fallen down a crevice in some caves that are a shrine to Native Americans.

Instead of just getting the poor man out, he calculates and hatches a plan to elongate the man's agony by padding out the rescue but hyping up the story by any means possible. Enter the man's wife, played by a superbly calculating and common Jan Sterling. Soon, the diner that the couple hardly ever had a customer at is turning over big bucks, due to folks flocking in to see the rescue, after Chuck Tatum (Douglas) gets a picture and exclusive on the front page of his grateful paper.

Within days, there's a fairground and even a song written specially for the poor fellow still below ground. Entrance to the site has risen from 25c to a dollar. Lorraine (Sterling) sees her way out of a miserable life and it's obvious that she wants to be hooked up with and taken to NY by Tatum, with all that money they've dubiously earned.

You can probably see where this is going, though the result, maybe not. The film resonates of the Chilean miner incident not so long ago. There's powerful acting, specially from Douglas and Sterling and superb black & white photography. The original script earned an Oscar nomination for Wilder and his two co-scriptwriters.

The Korean DVD works OK but you need to turn off the Korean subtitles first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kirk's Ace., 5 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: ACE IN THE HOLE[DVD] ALL REGION--KIRK DOUGLAS JAN STERLING-DIRECTED BY BILLY WILDER... (DVD)
I fully agree with Barry M - the only other reviewer of this film which I haven't seen since it was first released and to my mind, is one of Kirk's top performances as a ruthless reporter delaying the rescue of a boy trapped in a mine in order to get prolonged news coverage. This film, together with, 'Detective Story', are my two favourite 'Kirks'. (But then, I'm a 'Fifties Buff').
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ace in the Hole, 6 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: ACE IN THE HOLE[DVD] ALL REGION--KIRK DOUGLAS JAN STERLING-DIRECTED BY BILLY WILDER... (DVD)
I saw this film probably thrity years ago and just recently thought I must get a copy. Directed by the great Billy Wilder - one of his lesser known films but really worth a watch. Kirk Douglas brilliant. A must have for any DVD collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film, 21 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: ACE IN THE HOLE[DVD] ALL REGION--KIRK DOUGLAS JAN STERLING-DIRECTED BY BILLY WILDER... (DVD)
I saw this film on the television over 40 years ago and I remembered it and it's name because it was so good. I was very pleased to be able to obtain a copy of it on DVD. Also it had a quick delivery time. It's still an excellent film.
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