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Sheldon

Ace in the Hole AKA The Big Carnival

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I've been thinking about This great film recently with incredible performances by Kirk Douglas and Jan Stirling. It's been a long time since I've seen it anywhere and I don't think it's ever been released on video in any form. Are there rights issues? Does anyone have any info on this? Thanks in advance!

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Seems like TCM's Billy Wilder documentary used footage from Paramount's "Sunset Boulevard" and "Stalag 17" but not "Ace in the Hole," which is inexplicable as it's one of Wilder's and Douglas' greatest films. That has made me wonder if there are rights issues. More evidence: Paramount even put out a Wilder DVD set that didn't include "Ace."

 

Paramount appears to be the sole owner of the film. I don't think the copyright is in the name of some production company that might be greedy for a big cut of home-video profits.

 

My copy of the film came from a late-1990s airing on AMC. Since AMC changed into Always More Commercials, a number of films they used to run have gone AWOL. I wonder if they still have exclusive rights to those films for national broadcasts, even though they apparently have no intention of running them again. If there's a rights problem, I don't know what could have changed between AMC's last airing and now to make the film unavailable even for broadcast.

 

More theories: A) Paramount is releasing fewer and fewer classics each year, and they may have no intention of releasing it. B) It didn't appear in the boxed set because Paramount is meticulously assembling a two-disc special-edition DVD loaded with extra features. C) They're so clueless that they don't even know they own it.

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More theories: A) Paramount is releasing fewer and fewer classics each year, and they may have no intention of releasing it. B) It didn't appear in the boxed set because Paramount is meticulously assembling a two-disc special-edition DVD loaded with extra features. C) They're so clueless that they don't even know they own it. >>

 

Dan,

 

The answer with Paramount is always C. Ace in the Hole, however, has been entangled in rights problems for more years than I can remember. (and that's saying something).

 

If the rights ever get worked out, then we have to convince Paramount Home Video they have it in their vault.

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I found a site where you could rent or purchase it.(But I think it's only a VHS copy.)

But, if you can not wait I'd give it a try :http://ca2.zdag.com/movieDisplay.jsp?movieID=1677.

I read on another board (yes I strayed) The poster said it was in good shape.

 

vallo

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Sheldon---I don't know if you will be in New York City in January, but the Film Forum will be showing ACE IN THE HOLE on the big screen on the 12th & 18th.

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Thanks, Dan, for the info. I did notice a few days ago in one of my reference books that Jan Stirling won the National Board of Review Award in 1951 for this film. She should DEFINITELY have been nominated for the Oscar, don't you think?

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Yes, I live in Manhattan, also. Thanks for the heads-up. I truly think this film is a masterpiece and a wonderful cynical companion to "Sunset Boulevard." With all the insatiable appetite for "reality" TV today, we really haven't come too far, have we?

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Sterling and Douglas probably should have been nominated, but the movie's only Oscar nomination was for the screenplay. I just saw Ms. Sterling shine in "The Incident," where she plays a rather tightly wound character who opens up a can (verbally) on poor hubby Mike Kellin during the subway siege.

 

Crazy character actor Timothy Carey made his film debut in "Ace in the Hole," although I wasn't able to find him.

 

That's a shame about the rights--I wonder what the exact problem is? And why was AMC able to run it? I think other networks/local stations were able to run it over the years as well.

 

Incidentally, another example of a film that nobody's aired nationally since AMC did is "Tobacco Road." Rights may be a problem there too, as--just like "Ace"--it's incredible that it's never been on home video in any format.

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I hadn't checked this thread in a while, but I suppose many of you know that TCM is showing "Ace in the Hole"/"The Big Carnival" at 2:30 a.m. Jan. 25. With the Film Forum screenings, maybe a DVD release is on the way.

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For those on the west coast, the new print of Ace in the Hole will be playing at San Francisco's Castro Theatre on November 7 on a double-bill with Wilder's One Two Three...

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"Ace in the Hole" opened this past Friday, Jan. 12th, at Film Forum in New York:

 

http://www.filmforum.org/films/ace.html

 

... some reviews:

 

http://www.villagevoice.com/film/0702,lee,75507,20.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/12/movies/12movie.html

http://www.nysun.com/article/46593

 

Ya gotta think that this and the TCM showing Jan. 25th are leading up to a DVD release. I've got my fingers crossed that it gets the Criterion treatment.

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From what I've heard, it won't; it's to be released by its owner, Paramount, in a no-frills budget edition (though the transfer should be first-rate, as long as the film's elements are in good condition. The only unanswered question is whether it'll have its original title, ACE IN THE HOLE in the credits, or the re-release THE BIG CARNIVAL, which was the Main Title on the print when I saw it theatrically at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA, about a year and a half ago).

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What have you heard and where did you hear it? ANY release would be wonderful news, but I would like to see it in semi-official form with a date attached. Thanks in advance if you could oblige.

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