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redriver

Billy Wilder 6/22

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On 6/22 there's a Billy Wilder retrospective. Interview at 8:00 ET (repeated later), followed by several movies. What a peerless filmmaker! Wrote possibly the best dialogue in cinema, and in a second language. That is amazing! With due respect to DOUBLE INDEMNITY, LOST WEEKEND and SUNSET BLVD, my favorite Wilder film is THE APARTMENT. It's funny, poignant, intimate and fascinating. Well written and well played. The best work of all three stars, as well as the director. I don't think it's being shown that particular night. But I love an excuse to talk about The Wild Man!

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redriver I was soooo happy to see this was coming on I am ready to watch. I am esp. looking forward to the interview with Wilder. Finally I may be able to catch Double Indemity I have always wanted to watch it and missed it. I love the Apartment also an excellent film. I'm so happy to watch whenenver this movie comes on-is it just me or can anyone else not picture this movie in anything but B&W. Shut up and deal.....

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GWTW!

 

Thanks for the response. You are going to love DOUBLE INDEMNITY! Cold as ice. Yet you root for the bad guys. People who know Fred MacMurray as the all American dad, will never trust him again. My favorite character is Edward G. Robinson's Keyes.

 

"I wonder if some rum would get this up on its feet."

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You're absolutely right about Keyes: the best part the great Edward G. Robinson ever had.

 

But it's him you root for, not Walter and Phyllis, because Keyes is the moral yardstick against whom all the other characters are measured. The dynamic through 99% of the film is Walter Neff's certainty that he's way too smart to get caught by a desk-jockey like Keyes -- symbolized by Walter's constantly striking a match one-handed to light Keyes's cigar. Only at the end, as his life's leaking out through the holes Phyllis put in him, does Walter realize that Keyes -- who now lights Walter's cigarette -- can read him like a book.

 

This is one reason why Wilder discarded his original ending (a sad, somber Keyes watching as the recovered -- and condemned Walter -- is strapped into the San Quentin gas chamber, which Wilder felt was one of the two best scenes he ever shot), feeling that it destroyed the climactic irony of the reversal of those seemingly simple cigar/cigarette-lighting gestures.

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I didn't know that about the final scene. The book is a little different from either of those. Rather than root for the killers, maybe you just feel for them. The fear. The tension. I'm thinking, Be careful! You're gonna get caught! Good suspense is like that.

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Billy Wilder was always "ahead of his time-" My favorites were listed, but let's not forget...

"Ninotchka"

"The Major And The Minor"

"The Lost Weekend"

"The Seven Year Itch"

"Irma La Douce"

"The Fortune Cookie"

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The Apartment and Some Like It Hot are my favorite Billy Wilder movies. I cannot choose between them.

 

You know on the movie Casino Royale (not the upcoming one, the Peter Sellers/David Niven version) Billy Wilder was given screen credit because they used the immortal Joe E. Brown line "Nobody's Perfect"

 

As Woody Allen says "Never steal. And when you do, steal from the best" [paraphrasing]

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My very favorite Billy Wilder film is the decadent "Sunset Blvd.".

Also outstanding in "Witness for the Prosecution", "Stalag 17" and "Ace in the Hole" aka "The Big Carnival".

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I really can't understand why TCM isn't showing FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO as part of this series, since the film is part of the same Universal package that contains A FOREIGN AFFAIR, DOUBLE INDEMNITY and THE LOST WEEKEND.

 

And I think the channel has the Paramount package that contains ACE IN THE HOLE, but that's not being shown either.

 

Wake up, TCM!

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