Love in the Afternoon: Billy Wilder’s Lubitsch Film

Love in the Afternoon, starring Gary Cooper and Audrey Hepburn, is Billy Wilder’s best attempt at making a film in the spirit of his late mentor, Ernst Lubitsch. Ariane Chavasse (Audrey Hepburn) is a cello student and overhears a conversation between her private detective father, Claude Chavasse (Maurice Chevalier), and a client, Monsieur X (John McGiver). Claude’s specialty is going after the spouses who are unfaithful. Anyway, Monsieur X insists that he will kill American…

"Love in the Afternoon: Billy Wilder’s Lubitsch Film"

Witness for the Prosecution: A Billy Wilder Classic

The Oscar-nominated and Billy Wilder-directed Witness for the Prosecution is one of the best courtroom dramas in cinematic history. Let’s discuss the ending first. The film concludes with the following voiceover narration: “The management of this theater suggests that, for the greater entertainment of your friends who have not yet seen the picture, you will not divulge to anyone the secret of the ending of Witness for the Prosecution.” For this reason, I certainly will not…

"Witness for the Prosecution: A Billy Wilder Classic"

Sabrina: Billy Wilder Classic Still Has It

Sabrina may not be in the top tier level of Billy Wilder’s filmography but the romantic comedy teams three of the biggest stars of the era. Sabrina Fairchild (Audrey Hepburn) is the daughter of Larrabee family chauffeur, Thomas Fairchild (John Williams).  Because of his job, the two of them live right above the mansion’s garage.  She has a crush on David Larrabee (William Holden), the playboy of the family.  Upset with this, the film becomes…

"Sabrina: Billy Wilder Classic Still Has It"

Stalag 17 Is One Of The Best POW Films

Stalag 17 finds a way to mix comedy and drama to give audiences one of the best films to take place in a POW camp during World War II. The film is set at a Nazi prison camp in Austria while the Battle of the Bulge is taking place in 1944.  Clarence Harvey “Cookie” Cook (Gil Stratton) provides the narration for the POW camp-set film.  Manfredi and Johnson are shot during an attempt to escape. …

"Stalag 17 Is One Of The Best POW Films"

Ace in the Hole Is Still Relevant

While Ace in the Hole was not a commercial success on upon release in 1951, the film is still relevant when it comes to media sensationalism. The concept of media sensationalism dates back to the 16th or 17th centuries.  It’s not something that is going to go away anytime soon.  We still see it in the very media we consume to this day.  Much like Network predicted the likes of Fox News, Ace in the…

"Ace in the Hole Is Still Relevant"

Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder At His Finest

Sunset Boulevard isn’t only Billy Wilder at his finest but the film is easily the best film ever made about Hollywood in cinematic history. The fate of Joe Gillis (William Holden) is doomed from the start.  Upon flashing back, we later learn how he came to be in this most unfortunate situation.  It turns out that Joe is having the worst luck as a screenwriter.  He was unsuccessful in Sheldrake (Fred Clark) on a story. …

"Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder At His Finest"

The Lost Weekend Holds Up, Could Be Improved

Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend is one of three films to take home both the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival and Best Picture at the Oscars. The Lost Weekend deals with Don Birnam’s (Ray Milland) alcoholism.  What it does not deal with–and I’ll get to this shortly–is the fact that he’s in the closet.  Because the film doesn’t press this point, Brackett and Wilder’s script gives Helen St. James (Jane Wyman) a bigger…

"The Lost Weekend Holds Up, Could Be Improved"

A Foreign Affair: A Post-World War II Rom-Com

A Foreign Affair is a romantic comedy–albeit one that falls under the category of cynical–that takes place in post-World War II Berlin. Iowa congresswoman Phoebe Frost (Jean Arthur) is a part of a committee investigating American troop morale after the war.  Captain John Pringle (John Lund), a fellow Iowan) cynically woos her but he has his reasoning for doing so.  He’s trying to cover up his affair with singer Erika von Schlütow (Marlene Dietrich).  The…

"A Foreign Affair: A Post-World War II Rom-Com"

Double Indemnity Set Standard for Film Noir

Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity set the standard for film noir when the seven-time Oscar-nominee was first released in 1944. Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) is having an affair with insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray).  Murder is on the horizon because Walter wants Mr. Dietrichson (Tom Powers) to sign a double indemnity policy.  The trick will certainly come in making it look like an accident.  This is easier said than done, right?  Of course, no matter…

"Double Indemnity Set Standard for Film Noir"

On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder

On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder by Ed Sikov is an in-depth biography of the late Oscar winning filmmaker, who died in 2002. When Ernst Lubitsch died in 1947, all of his secrets went to the grave.  But who was there to succeed him in terms of his style of filmmaking?  The answer to the question comes in the form of another filmmaker from the Continent, Billy Wilder. Double Indemnity.  The…

"On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder"