Please explain. I like Wilder's and Maddin's films, but I just can't reconcile Wilder's tightly flowing noirs with Maddin's tongue in cheek shtick. I haven't seen Ace In the Hole...so please elaborate.
I'm not going to spoil anything for you or anyone else who hasn't seen Wilder's film... but I won't guarantee anything, either:
When I compared Ace in the Hole
to The Saddest Music in the World
I was referring to their stories and characters. I see Kirk Douglas's character in Mark McKinney's: they're both slimy and crooked, out for the biggest and the best, shattering all real human care and relationships for something more synthetic and phony (at least phony in the eyes of audience members who're aware of what's going on). Douglas's character is out for the news event of the year, while McKinney's is out for the saddest music in the world. Since what they're doing sells, they're alright with it, as evident in the circus like fiascos that occur in both films.
My answer certainly doesn't do justice to the characters or stories of either film- you really must experience Wilder's!
I recall Maddin including Wilder's film in a top ten list somewhere on the internet- whether it was an official list or not I can't say- and I feel he was probably aware of it before production on his film began. But, even if I hadn't known about the list, I could have easily seen the connections.
As far as direction goes, I can't comment on the entire filmographies of either Wilder or Maddin, but if you've seen both films in discussion here you'll understand they're obviously very, very different in terms of style. Both films, however, at least owe something to satire, and where I liked Maddin's demented fantasy world I loved Wilder's dialogue, actors and attitude.
Hope my explanation is satisfying.