Monday, May 6, 2013

ACE IN THE HOLE (1951) - ENGLISH


At times, we need lethargic and nonchalance to cope with life, Billy Wilder delivers that with this masterpiece.

Throwing caution to the wind and making a movie devoid of embellishments of humour, romance, music but just with drama is an intrepid attempt. This I believe was the reason for the initial failure of this movie called Ace In The Hole. It was deprived of many formulaic things that are a part of any movie, be it Wilder's too. Yet, this one had only a line that was made into characters, they form scenes and these scenes of enormity give us a grand picture. 

This is about a man trapped in a hole, whose story is being manifested by a selfish, ambitious journalist Chuck Tatum played flawlessly by Kirk Douglas. This tiny story, surpasses many things and makes the little known place into a tourist spot. A fair is setup, sales are picked up at the store. And what more, the wife of that poor struck guy is enticing the macho journalist who has the knack of convincing people by his charm. 

I loved Kirk Douglas in "Bad and the Beautiful" and "Paths of Glory" my love for him grew with this film and the way he played Chuck Tatum, the enigmatic journalist who has a humane side, Alas! it came a bit too late in the film. Well, the variation of emotion or modulation of voice, he seems to be doing many things on screen all at once and that too without any effort. More than anything, he made Chuck to be a next door journalist and indeed an affable one. Yet, he is rigid on terms and work with his own mindset and his own ambition. 

Coming to other actors, they have ably supported Kirk in his endeavour to rescue that poor guy who was struck in the hole.  All have done their job exceedingly well, be it the silent mother who prays or this big media tycoons who are willing to pay any money to Chuck to buy the story. 

As a story, it's utterly cynical of how media sensationalises any petty issue and makes it headlines to attract readers. It's not news anymore, it's business. That's how we are governed now by media. I am more than happy to have seen such a satire, the other media satire I fondly remember is "Peepli Live". 

The technical departments, for this movie have done their job well, and Billy at the helm has handled direction superbly. With each film, my love for Billy Wilder grows, and he is one of my favourite directors. With simple story lines, he made huge masterpieces that are etched in the memory forever. 

I loved this film, this is what you call master storytelling and Billy precisely did that, it's 4/5 and I thank myself for making time to watch this cinema.

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