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Ace in the Hole (1951 film)

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Genre  Drama, Film-Noir
Country  United States
8.2/10 IMDb

Director  Billy Wilder
Language  English
Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie poster
Release date  June 14, 1951 (1951-06-14) (premiere-Albuquerque, New Mexico) July 29, 1951 (1951-07-29) (United States)
Writer  Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels, Walter Newman
Initial release  June 14, 1951 (Albuquerque)
Cast  Kirk Douglas (Chuck Tatum), Jan Sterling (Lorraine Minosa), Robert Arthur (Herbie Cook), Porter Hall (Jacob Q. Boot), Frank Cady (Mr. Federber), Richard Benedict (Leo Minosa)
Similar movies  Mad Max: Fury Road, 127 Hours, Detour, The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, World Trade Center
Tagline  Rough, tough Chuck Tatum, who battered his way to the top ... trampling everything in his path - men, women and morals !

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With flaws that outweigh his talent, reporter Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) has bounced across the country from job to job. Winding up in New Mexico, Tatum gets work from the local newspaper, but finds that theres not much in the way of pressing news. However, when Tatum catches wind of a treasure hunter (Richard Benedict) trapped in a mineshaft, he turns the story into a media sensation. Soon Tatum is using unscrupulous tactics to draw out the situation, an approach that comes back to haunt him.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

Ace in the Hole (aka The Big Carnival) is a 1951 American film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

It marked a series of firsts for auteur Billy Wilder: it was the first time he was involved in a project as a writer, producer, and director; his first film following his breakup with long-time writing partner Charles Brackett, with whom he had collaborated on The Lost Weekend and Sunset Boulevard, among others; and his first film to be a critical and commercial failure.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

The story is a biting examination of the seedy relationship between the press, the news it reports and the manner in which it reports it. Without consulting Wilder, Paramount Pictures executive Y. Frank Freeman changed the title to The Big Carnival just prior to its release. Early television broadcasts retained that title, but when aired by Turner Classic Movies—and when released on DVD by The Criterion Collection in July 2007—it reverted to Ace in the Hole.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to revitalize his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control media circus.

Ace in the hole 1 8 movie clip i know newspapers backward forward and sideways 1951 hd


Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

Chuck Tatum is a fiercely ambitious, self-centered, wisecracking, down-on-his-luck reporter who has worked his way down the ladder. He has come west to New Mexico from New York City, along the way being fired from eleven newspapers for libel, adultery, and heavy drinking, among other charges. Now that his car has broken down and Tatum is broke, he talks his way into a reporting job for the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin, a paper of little consequence.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

Tatum stays sober and works there uneventfully for a year. Then while unhappily on assignment to cover a rattlesnake hunt, he learns about Leo Minosa, a local man who has become trapped in a cave collapse while gathering ancient Indian artifacts.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

Sensing a golden opportunity, Tatum manipulates the rescue effort, convincing an unscrupulous sheriff to pressure the construction contractor charged with the rescue into drilling from above, rather than shoring up the existing passages, so that Tatum can prolong his stay on the front pages of newspapers nationwide.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes

Lorraine, the victims wife, goes along with the reporters scheme. She is eager to leave Leo and their struggling business in the middle of nowhere, a combination trading post and restaurant. Thanks to the publicity Tatum generates, she experiences a financial windfall, particularly from thousands of tourists who come to witness the rescue.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes Ace in the Hole 1 8 Movie CLIP I Know Newspapers Backward Forward and Sideways 1951 HD

Herbie Cook, the newspapers young photographer, slowly loses his idealism as he follows Tatums lead and envisions himself selling pictures to Look or Life. The editor of the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin tries to talk some sense into his employees, but Tatum quits on the spot, having sold the exclusive rights to his copy to a New York editor for a lot of money and, more importantly, his old job back.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes Ace in the Hole 1951 jpg

Thousands flock to the town. The rescue site literally becomes a carnival, with rides, entertainment, songs about Leo, even games of chance. Tatum begins drinking again. He takes up with Lorraine and is greeted heroically by the crowd each time he returns from visiting poor Leo in the cave.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes For me Billy Wilder s insanely caustic Ace in the Hole is one of the greatest films ever made At the time it was released it was a box office flop and

After five days of drilling, the party atmosphere ends abruptly. Upon learning that Leo is fading fast, Tatum belatedly tries to get the contractor to switch back to the quicker procedure of shoring up the walls of the cave, but the vibration from drilling has made this impossible. Leo dies.

Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes Ace in the Hole Movie Review

Tatum has mistreated Leos wife once too often as well, and she stabs him with a pair of scissors. Tatum barely reaches his old office in Albuquerque, then collapses on the floor as he is about to reveal a big story: how he caused Leos death.

Ace in the hole 3 8 movie clip rattlesnake hunt 1951 hd

Principal cast

  • Kirk Douglas as Chuck Tatum
  • Jan Sterling as Lorraine Minosa
  • Robert Arthur as Herbie Cook
  • Porter Hall as Jacob Q. Boot, editor, publisher, and owner of the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin
  • Frank Cady as Mr. Federber, a tourist
  • Richard Benedict as Leo Minosa
  • Ray Teal as Sheriff Kretzer
  • Lewis Martin as Mc Carle
  • Legal aftermath

    Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling from the lobby card from Billy Wilder s lost masterpiece

    Following the films release, Wilder was sued for plagiarism by screenwriter Victor Desny, who claimed he had contacted Wilders secretary Rosella Stewart to propose a film based on the story of Floyd Collins in November 1949. Wilders attorneys responded that not only did a verbal plot summary not constitute a formal story submission, but the Collins case was of a historical nature and as such was not protected by copyright laws. In December 1953, Judge Stanley Mosk ruled in favor of Wilder and Paramount. Desny appealed, and in August 1956 the California Supreme Court ruled his oral submission had been legitimate. Wilders attorneys settled, paying Desny $14,350.

    Critical response

    Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes ACE IN THE HOLE Directed by Billy Wilder 1951 After being fired from his last eleven jobs Kirk Douglas takes that left turn

    At the time of its release, critics found little to admire. In his review in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther called it "a masterly film" but added, "Mr. Wilder has let imagination so fully take command of his yarn that it presents not only a distortion of journalistic practice but something of a dramatic grotesque . . . [it] is badly weakened by a poorly constructed plot, which depends for its strength upon assumptions that are not only naive but absurd. There isnt any denying that there are vicious newspaper men and that one might conceivably take advantage of a disaster for his own private gain. But to reckon that one could so tie up and maneuver a story of any size, while other reporters chew their fingers, is simply incredible."

    Ace in the Hole (1951 film) movie scenes Ace in the Hole dir Billy Wilder A Streetcar Named Desire dir Elia Kazan Strangers on a Train dir Alfred Hitchcock

    The Hollywood Reporter called it "ruthless and cynical...a distorted study of corruption and mob psychology nothing more than a brazen, uncalled-for slap in the face of two respected and frequently effective American institutions - democratic government and the free press." Variety was more positive, noting "the performances are fine. Douglas enacts the heel reporter ably, giving it color to balance its unsympathetic character. Jan Sterling also is good in a role that has no softening touches, and Benedicts victim portrayal is first-rate. Billy Wilders direction captures the feel of morbid expectancy that always comes out in the curious that flock to scenes of tragedy."

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    The film has found new respect among critics. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote in 2007, "Although the film is 56 years old, I found while watching it again that it still has all its power. It hasnt aged because Wilder and his co-writers, Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels, were so lean and mean [with their dialogue] . . . [Kirk Douglas] focus and energy . . . is almost scary. There is nothing dated about [his] performance. Its as right-now as a sharpened knife."

    Dave Kehr in the Chicago Reader called it "cold, lurid, and fascinating" and Nathan Lee of The Village Voice wrote, "Here is, half a century out of the past, a movie so acidly au courant it stings."

    Time Out London wrote, "As a diatribe against all that is worst in human nature, it has moments dipped in pure vitriol." TV Guide called it "a searing example of writer-director Billy Wilder at his most brilliantly misanthropic" and adds, "An uncompromising portrait of human nature at its worst, the film . . . stands as one of the great American films of the 1950s."

    Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine wrote that the film "... allowed Wilder to question the very nature of human interest stories and the twisted relationship between the American media and its public. More than 50 years after the films release, when magazines compete to come up with the cattiest buzz terms and giddily celebrate the demise of celebrity relationships for buffo bucks, Ace in the Hole feels more relevant than ever."

    In his Slate review, Jack Shafer wrote in 2007, "If film noir illustrates the crackup of the American dream . . . Ace in the Hole is an exemplar of the form."

    In September 2008, Empire Magazine published its list of the Top 500 greatest movies of all time. With votes from 10,000 readers of the magazine along with 500 key film critics and 150 film industry figures, this film is ranked number 385.

    Awards and nominations


  • National Board of Review Award: Best Actress - Jan Sterling; 1951.
  • Venice Film Festival: International Award for Best Director - Billy Wilder; 1951.
  • Venice Film Festival: Best Music - Hugo Friedhofer; 1951.
  • Nomination

  • Academy Award for Best Story and Screenplay - Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels and Walter Newman; 1952.
  • Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion - Billy Wilder; 1951.
  • References

    Ace in the Hole (1951 film) Wikipedia
    Ace in the Hole (1951 film) IMDbAce in the Hole (1951 film) Rotten TomatoesAce in the Hole (1951 film) Roger EbertAce in the Hole (1951 film) MetacriticAce in the Hole (1951 film)

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