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Ace in the Hole

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Released in 1951, Ace in the Hole came out a time when neither the public nor the critics were ready for something like it and it flopped. Hard. But with time, it’s found a new audience and has been canonized as one of Billy Wilder's greatest achievements. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Film Noir series with “Ace in the Hole.”

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“Bad news sells best, because good news is no news."

From “Double Indemnity” in 1944 through “The Apartment” in 1960 (maybe even “One, Two, Three” in ’61), Billy Wilder really hit his stride. His films were all over the map genre-wise, yet he showed how great a director he was because they’re all incredibly memorable. With his successes, however, he certainly didn’t shy away from making dark pictures from time to time, and “Ace in the Hole” is arguably his darkest. Released in 1951, it came out a time when neither the public nor the critics were ready for something like it and it flopped. Hard. But with time, it’s found a new audience and has been canonized as one of his greatest achievements. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Film Noir series with “Ace in the Hole.” We dig deep into our personal opinions about how well the film works — Andy loves is while Pete had problems with it. We delve into what the story is trying to say and debate about how well it’s actually doing what it sets out to do. We chat about the cast — Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall and more — and look at what they bring to the table. We talk about Wilder and his directing here, along with Charles Lang’s cinematography and Hugo Friedhofer’s brilliant score. And we debate over the placement of the film on our Flickchart, wondering if the rock/paper/scissors battles will ever work better in Pete’s favor. It’s a great week talking about a divisive film. Tune in!

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