HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Laguna Ave.
Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11
Amulet
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
   
 
Newest Articles
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ace in the Hole All The News That's Shit To Print
Year: 1951
Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall, Frank Cady, Richard Benedict, Ray Teal, Lewis Martin, John Berkes, Frances Dominguez, Gene Evans, Frank Jaquet, Harry Harvey, Bob Bumpas, Geraldine Hall, Richard Gaines
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) is sitting in his broken down car as it is towed into Abuquerque and tells the driver of the recovery vehicle to stop outside the office of the local newspaper. Marching inside, Chuck asks the nearest journalist where can he find the proprietor, and is pointed to the office of Jacob Q. Boot (Porter Hall) who immediately tells him he isn't hiring. But this newspaperman from the East Coast isn't listening, and proceeds to deliver a spiel about what a talented reporter he is, never mind about those times he lost his job for libel or sleeping with the boss's wife, and Boot becomes intrigued, especially when he is informed he will make plenty of money by taking him on...

But a year passes and Tatum is in the same position, reduced to reporting on a rattlesnake hunt when he happens to stumble upon a genuine human interest story that seems guaranteed to make him his fortune and turn him from a nobody into a somebody again in the national press scene. However, this was Billy Wilder's take on a true life event of twenty-five years before, one of the first media circuses, and he had nothing but bile for the public who pruriently lapped up these tales, the more sensational and tragic the better, and those who peddled them, each exploiting one another for kicks and cash, all to divine entertainment out of very real suffering. In fact, the only person who came out of this extreme morality unscathed was Wilder himself.

Except, of course, it didn't work out that way, with the director complaining his audience were expecting a cocktail from him only to believe he had made them down a shot of vinegar instead; was he really all that surprised when the folks who attended his movies, and were getting to know his name as a mark of quality, should turn against him when he essentially accused them of being hypocrites and vultures, and if you did lay claim to any piety then frankly you were a moron? Nobody but an emotional masochist would wish to be told they were a terrible person for a couple of hours with no let up, yet that's what Wilder was delivering here and with such caustic enthusiasm that nobody escaped his glare. With Kirk Douglas as the bearer of the message that you were a moral vacuum, nobody did it better, either.

What Tatum finds on his drive to the rattlesnakes - and watch how reptilian imagery and metaphor frequently comes up in this movie - is a man trapped in a cave on an Indian reservation. It's looking bad for Leo Minosa (Richard Benedict) but very good for our antihero, since he can string out the rescue for a few days and build this little story up into a national story, then allow Leo to be saved at the last moment, thus simultaneously rescuing Tatum's career. What could possibly go wrong? How about the fact that everyone here is deeply flawed, except Tatum is cursed with the ability to see all this corruption with twenty-twenty vision and can therefore make the most of it while recognising he is bringing out the worst in everyone, from the crowds who gather to leech off the fame to the authorities happy to make a name for themselves as heroes.

They are nothing of the kind, merely as self-serving as Chuck or even - blaming the victim - Leo who likes the idea of the attention. There are those who turn to God to help such as his mother, but they spend all their time praying and no time at all doing anything practical to get him out, as meanwhile the trapped man's wife, Lorraine (Jan Sterling, the casting director truly earned his money here) notes the takings at her diner and makes a move on Chuck seeing as he is the alpha male now. Some have described Ace in the Hole as film noir, but if it is Lorraine is not the femme fatale, she's not intelligent enough as the real manipulator is Tatum, rendering him both a rare homme fatale and the architect of his own doom wrapped up in one unlovely package. Needless to say, Kirk was having a field day and at his most brilliant in this, conveying both his character's self-loathing greed and Wilder's absolute disgust at sharing the planet with this species called humanity. Is it enjoyable? That's debatable, but it has the quality of a sharp slap in the face, if that's your thing. Music by Hugo Friedhofer.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4833 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: