396 Ace in the Hole

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Jeff
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396 Ace in the Hole

#1 Post by Jeff » Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:11 pm

Ace in the Hole

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One of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker, Academy Award“winner Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole is legendary for both its cutting social critique and its status as a hard-to-find cult classic. Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter caught in dead-end Albuquerque who happens upon the story of a lifetime, and will do anything to ensure he gets the scoop. Wilder's follow-up to Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé that anticipated the rise of the American media circus.

Disc Features

- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Audio commentary by film scholar Neil Sinyard
- New video afterword by filmmaker Spike Lee
- Portrait of a "60% Perfect Man": Billy Wilder, a 1980 documentary featuring in-depth interviews with Wilder by film critic Michel Ciment
- A 1984 interview with Kirk Douglas
- Excerpts from a 1986 appearance by Wilder at the American Film Institute
- Excerpts from an audio interview with co-screenwriter Walter Newman
- Theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring new essays by film critic Molly Haskell and filmmaker Guy Maddin

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Last edited by Jeff on Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Cinephrenic
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#2 Post by Cinephrenic » Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:50 pm

Jeff wrote:Confirmed by Variety:
Criterion, on the other hand, is devoting its new Eclipse line to worthy, but overshadowed, works. The first installment, of early Ingmar Bergman pics, comes March 27 with "Torment," "Crisis," "Port of Call," "Thirst" and "To Joy"; one month later, a set of Louis Malle docus arrives, including "Phantom India."

Becker says Criterion decided to launch Eclipse after seeing the pent-up demand for helmers' less-celebrated films in retrospectives mounted by its theatrical distribution counterpart, Janus Films.

Criterion often takes years to prepare special editions, which meant many films were going unreleased. "We realized we are, in effect, suppressing these films while we are waiting to give them special edition treatment," Becker says.

"We are taking a fairly light hand in restoration of these films, but we are certainly taking the best master we can," he says. "The goal is to make films available."

Meanwhile, the boutique label's still devoting exacting care to releases of long-missing classics like Billy Wilder's "Ace in the Hole" and Lindsay Anderson's "If ..." Becker also enthuses about esoterica such as William Greaves' 1968 doc-style "Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One," which helmers Steven Soderbergh and Steve Buscemi recommended.
The article also has other quotes by Becker and Warner's George Feltenstein as well as some unsatisfactory explanation to the foot-dragging on Paramount's The African Queen (No, I don't think there's any chance they'd license that one to Criterion).
A quintessential noir classic being released by Criterion. Holy shit!!!

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Tribe
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#3 Post by Tribe » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:03 pm

Cinephrenic wrote:A quinessential noir classic being released by Criterion. Holy shit!!!
I'd never heard of this. It appears in Silver & Ward's Film Noir, 3d ed. as The Big Carnival.
The Big Carnival is one of the most grimly cynical motion pictures ever to emerge from Hollywood. It was condemned as a compassionless and contemptuos distortion of human nature, while several newspaper film reviewers complained that American journalists had been slandered. However, although the film was reportedly banned in Malaya for portraying a facet of American life "that might be misunderstood," it received the Venice Film Festival award for the outstanding Hollywood film of that year.
And the cynical story line make it all sound great. Anyone know why this one has flown under the radar? Was it only the subject matter that turned audein ces and critics against it?

Really interesting release...and they just don't get much better when Criterion does film noir.

Tribe

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Highway 61
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#4 Post by Highway 61 » Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:28 pm

The Paramount-Criterion alliance is so good it's hard to believe. I'm amazed that Paramount would give up a rare gem like Ace in the Hole that would surely sell well. Warners is making buckets of money releasing less sought-after classics than Ace, but still Paramount hands the film over to Criterion. I'm not objecting, understand, just baffled.

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Jeff
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#5 Post by Jeff » Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:00 pm

Tribe wrote:I'd never heard of this. It appears in Silver & Ward's Film Noir, 3d ed. as The Big Carnival.
It is an absolute classic. Ace in the Hole is probably the greatest film to never be released in any video format. Get thee to Senses of Cinema's appreciation.

Is anyone aware of existing quality supplements that Criterion could acquire for this? I would suggest that the following seem reasonable:
Last edited by Jeff on Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Highway 61
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#6 Post by Highway 61 » Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:15 pm

Some sort of supplement on journalism would be nice. I always think of the news as having gone to shit only recently when corporations started buying up the privately owned papers and magazines, but when I saw Wilder's film--made over 50 years ago--I obviously had to reconsider. Also, some sort of documentary detailing the film's hushed release and unavailability is essential.

mikeohhh
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#7 Post by mikeohhh » Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:45 pm

They need to get a Kirk Douglas interview while they still can. His performance in this film is so vicious and powerful. I'm so thrilled this movie is getting released. One of the most underrated films of all time.

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Tribe
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