Billy Wilder

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Begin appreciating Billy Wilder at once. On this thread here.

adaml (adaml), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 19:17 (twenty years ago) link

*appreciating Billy Wilder*


Girolamo Savonarola, Tuesday, 23 September 2003 19:19 (twenty years ago) link

I'd be more interested in a thread where we depreciate the dude.

s1utsky (slutsky), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 19:24 (twenty years ago) link

Any doubts that ILF has a unique and identifiable "tone" have been quickly vanquished in the space of three posts. Admittedly, what is there left to say? We might start getting all "Cameron Crowe" on ourselves.

adaml (adaml), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 20:20 (twenty years ago) link

Well, if it means anything, I think Sunset Blvd. and The Apartment are two of the greatest films ever made.

Anthony (Anthony F), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 20:35 (twenty years ago) link

And if this makes you feel better, here's what Wilder is on my masterlist in chronological order:

Double Indemnity
Lost Weekend, The
Sunset Boulevard
Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)
Stalag 17
Seven Year Itch, The
Witness for the Prosecution
Some Like It Hot
Apartment, The
One, Two, Three
Kiss Me, Stupid
Fortune Cookie, The
Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, The

I hear that the lack of any easily accessible copy of Ace in the Hole/The Big Carnival is quite the tragedy, though.

I have only seen Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment, and I will heartily recommend them without any reservation whatsoever.

*gives an imaginary third person the raspberry*

Girolamo Savonarola, Tuesday, 23 September 2003 21:15 (twenty years ago) link

What do you mean, your masterlist?

I like Wilder fine, it'd just be more fun and interesting (and un-Crowe-ish, shudder) to bury rather than praise.

exhibit A: Love in the Afternoon

s1utsky (slutsky), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 21:38 (twenty years ago) link

What do you mean, your masterlist?

I have a list of films I've personally compiled. I haven't seen most of them, but it's a good quick reference for me.

Girolamo Savonarola, Tuesday, 23 September 2003 22:05 (twenty years ago) link

Is it films by director or something?

s1utsky (slutsky), Wednesday, 24 September 2003 02:48 (twenty years ago) link

It's a spreadsheet with columns for title, director, year, whether or not I've seen it, Criterion number (if it has one), and what its call number is at a local library's film collection - although I'm skipping town soon, so that one will become entirely useless very soon.

It essentially is a masterlist compilation of a large number of other lists, but only from ones I felt were good, relevant, or had a number of interesting picks I wouldn't have found otherwise. Occasionally I've even included everything listed in the indices of very select books. My only rule is that it's all or nothing - I don't cherry pick what titles from those lists should make it, and therefore my personal taste has no value, aside from picking the lists themselves. It is currently holding at close to 4000 films, and pretty much from the first hundred on, as I slowly started compiling it, I've maintained a steady rate of having seen between 15 and 20 percent of it.

Girolamo Savonarola, Wednesday, 24 September 2003 03:17 (twenty years ago) link


s1utsky (slutsky), Wednesday, 24 September 2003 05:27 (twenty years ago) link

Yes, the rumors are true; I am a geek.

Girolamo Savonarola, Wednesday, 24 September 2003 12:08 (twenty years ago) link

Double Indemnity is great - 'They've got more tricks than a car-full of monkeys'

David Steans, Thursday, 25 September 2003 07:03 (twenty years ago) link

You handle just automobile insurance or all kinds?

All kinds: fire, earthquake, theft, public liability, group insurance, industrial stuff and so on, right on down the line.

(She sits back down and crosses her legs)
Accident insurance?

Accident insurance? Sure, Mrs. Dietrichson. (beat) Wish you'd tell me what's engraved on that anklet.

Just my name.

As for instance?


Phyllis, huh? I think I like that.

But you're not sure?

Oh, have to drive it around the block a coupla times...

Mr. Neff, why don't you drop by tomorrow evening around 8:30. He'll be in then.


My husband. You were anxious to talk to him, weren't you?

Yeah, I was, but... I'm sorta getting over the idea, if you know what I mean.

There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff -- 45 miles an hour.

How fast was I going, officer?

I'd say around 90.


Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket.

Suppose I let you off with a warning this time.

Suppose it doesn't take.

Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles.

Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder.

Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder.

That tears it.
(He walks over to pick up his hat)
8:30 tomorrow evening, then.

That's what I suggested.

Will you be here, too?

I guess so, I usually am.

Putting on his hat)
Same chair, same perfume, same anklet?

I wonder if I know what you mean.

I wonder if you wonder.

Jeff-PTTL (Jeff), Thursday, 25 September 2003 17:59 (twenty years ago) link


Jeff-PTTL (Jeff), Thursday, 25 September 2003 18:23 (twenty years ago) link

What is even better is that Fred MacMurray pulls it off, which is hard to believe if you saw a bunch of My Three Sons when you was a kid.

Edgar G. Robinson is also great in that one.

Sunset Blvd. has to be one of the most classic movie endings.

I don't know who the actor was in Stalag 17 that played the guy with the googly eyes who is obsessed with Betty Grable, but he should have been in 50 more movies, as he has great warped look.

earlnash, Friday, 26 September 2003 15:55 (twenty years ago) link

One Two Three is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, mostly due to James Cagney (who is fuckin' amazing). His last leading role, and his last movie for 20 years until Ragtime.

Gear! (Gear!), Monday, 29 September 2003 04:50 (twenty years ago) link

one year passes...
My favorite overlooked Wilder comedy is "A Foreign Affair"; Dietrich and Jean Arthur are both great in it, compensating for the unmemorable John Lund in the male lead. That he managed to apply the caustic tone to a comedy set in 1946-47 Berlin shouldn't be underestimated.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 2 August 2005 15:33 (eighteen years ago) link

yeah, that's an excellent film.

i ask again: who can help me find a copy of ace in the hole?

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Wednesday, 3 August 2005 10:47 (eighteen years ago) link

Cameron Crowe seems to go crazy over John Lund in that Billy Wilder book. Millard Mitchell has an excellent bit as a commanding officer. And I can't remember if it is actually Friedrich Holllaender playing piano when Marlene sings "Black Market" but it might be.

k/l (Ken L), Wednesday, 3 August 2005 20:33 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
why is this guy so underrated?

deeznuts, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 18:57 (seventeen years ago) link


I like him a lot and think he's overrated at this point! Not many Golden Age Hollywood filmmakers are as discussed, or have generated posthumous books, TV specials, etc. Hitchcock and Ford, maybe.

Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 24 April 2007 20:44 (seventeen years ago) link

five years pass...

that list above might come in handy

first u get the flower, then u get the honey, then u get the stamen (darraghmac), Wednesday, 12 December 2012 13:06 (eleven years ago) link

ten months pass...

I watched Love In The Afternoon tonight and what a stupid movie. Why did they cast Gary Cooper alongside Audrey Hepburn? Were grandpa playboys not creeper in the late 50's? His lines were lame compared to her's and are we suppose to believe a young clever cellist living in france has no other options than a rich aging womanizer? The more Billy Wilder films I watch the less he impresses me. I'm beginning to think Ace In The Hole and maybe the Apartment are the only films I really enjoy of his. This film really pissed me off, almost as much as Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Both are stupid aging male fantasies clumsily getting the younger smarter woman. What a crock of shit.

JacobSanders, Monday, 4 November 2013 07:29 (ten years ago) link

down boy down

eclectic husbandry (Dr Morbius), Monday, 4 November 2013 08:04 (ten years ago) link

Fwiw, the Cooper part in LITA was supposed to be played by Cary Grant (who was also old, but not as decrepit looking as Cooper).

A Made Man In The Mellow Mafia (C. Grisso/McCain), Monday, 4 November 2013 21:26 (ten years ago) link

seven years pass...

The new Harper’s has something of his about being a taxi dancer from an upcoming collection of his writing.

Next Time Might Be Hammer Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 25 January 2021 22:42 (three years ago) link

Rave reviews of the new book from Molly Haskell and J. Hoberman and some others with whom I am not familiar.

Next Time Might Be Hammer Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 25 January 2021 23:00 (three years ago) link

Oh, this must be drawing from the same well of journalistic writing that I had a German-language anthology from? Those are great.

One of my fav moments is when he profiles an American businessman and states that "only an American could enjoy drinking this strange 'coca cola'", foreshadowing for 123.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 26 January 2021 11:53 (three years ago) link


Next Time Might Be Hammer Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 26 January 2021 12:17 (three years ago) link

one year passes...
Check out the Saul Bass poster!

Farewell to Evening in Paradise (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 8 January 2023 15:36 (one year ago) link

Found the Coca-Cola thing, I think. Very funny.

Farewell to Evening in Paradise (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 8 January 2023 19:00 (one year ago) link

“Hello, Mr. Menjou?”


W. R. Wilkerson drinks Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola, which tastes like burned tires. But it is said to be very refreshing. W. R. Wilkerson is in love with Coca-Cola. He is now on his fourth glass. When someone is in love with Coca-Cola, you can bet your last pair of pants, with wonderful odds, that this fan is an American. And if he pours four glasses into himself at once, he is surely a tired American.

Farewell to Evening in Paradise (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 8 January 2023 19:10 (one year ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.