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"