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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CSM126
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#76 Post by CSM126 » Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:43 am


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Jonny Pasadena
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#77 Post by Jonny Pasadena » Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:36 pm

As the breathless reports proceed from the Utah mining disaster, it feels downright uncanny that this film just came out on DVD.

I fear that things won't end any better for the miners in life than in the movie, either.

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Luke M
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#78 Post by Luke M » Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:12 pm

I was thinking the same thing when I first heard about the Crandall Canyon mine story.

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domino harvey
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#79 Post by domino harvey » Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:39 pm

Those guys are clearly dead and this is still "top news" for fake news stations worldwide, this movie has unfortunately proved its relevance.

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jbeall
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#80 Post by jbeall » Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:44 pm

domino harvey wrote:Those guys are clearly dead and this is still "top news" for fake news stations worldwide, this movie has unfortunately proved its relevance.
It's actually just a symptom of a larger problem. As long as mine disasters and bridge collapses are treated as isolated problems by lazy mainstream media who don't think, we'll continue to have these disasters.

Check out this article written shortly after Harlan County, U.S.A. came out on dvd. Once we start talking about how tax cuts for the wealthy and an expensive, ill-advised war in Iraq led to the absence of federal dollars that could be better used to upgrade infrastructure, enforce mine safety standards, etc... but this thread is about Ace in the Hole, and I digress.

In a million different ways, Ace in the Hole is still relevant and vital. It's amazing how films like Ace and Network were written as satires, and now play like realistic dramas. That's how absurd this country has become. "The big carnival" indeed.

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alandau
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#81 Post by alandau » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:13 am

Sorry folks, I DON'T LIKE IT yet.

Have only watched half, and am struggling. Love Wilder, SB, DI, SMLIH and TA are pure masterpieces, however, he can be hot and cold.

I find Douglas irritating, the script sententious and the whole thing artificial.

I love Wilder's cynicism in the above mentioned movies, however, here it is hard to stomach.

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domino harvey
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#82 Post by domino harvey » Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:31 pm

alandau wrote:I find Douglas irritating
Which would only be a problem if the film hinged on the viewer liking Douglas's character... which of course it doesn't. By the half-way point it may not be clear that the film is a satire, and as such Douglas and the rest of the cast represent exaggerations of the dangers of media excess. Criticizing Douglas's overzealous performance is a little like saying Robert Duvall was "too over the top" in Network.

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#83 Post by kevyip1 » Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:54 pm

I loved Douglas all the way. But the supporting cast was lacking, especially the female lead. Someone like Stanwyck would probably bring more villainy out of a character who was just as callous as Douglas'. It was great to see Wilder removed from the usual urbane, middle-class settings of his other films and channelling a bit of Elia Kazan, with the gritty, desolate, hopeless landscape...

One of the best blind buys I've had in years. Loved those essays printed on a local newspaper format.

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lord_clyde
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#84 Post by lord_clyde » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:19 pm

Jonny Pasadena wrote:As the breathless reports proceed from the Utah mining disaster, it feels downright uncanny that this film just came out on DVD.

I fear that things won't end any better for the miners in life than in the movie, either.
Having the disaster so close is a little surreal, especially when I go to work and see the people who know the victims hanging on every image the media brings them.

It looks like they have given them up for dead, and after three rescuers died in another cave in will not be sending anybody else down.
The owner of the mine with his phony sympathy and constant insistence that he is not at fault is also a little surreal, and a cold reminder that art imitates life.

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jbeall
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#85 Post by jbeall » Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:48 pm

alandau wrote:Sorry folks, I DON'T LIKE IT yet.

Have only watched half, and am struggling. Love Wilder, SB, DI, SMLIH and TA are pure masterpieces, however, he can be hot and cold.

I find Douglas irritating, the script sententious and the whole thing artificial.

I love Wilder's cynicism in the above mentioned movies, however, here it is hard to stomach.
Don't apologize alandau. I had a tough time getting into it. The second time I watched it, I was much more into it. Whether that will happen for you or not, I can't say, but it was initially a difficult film for me to like.

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colinr0380
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#86 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:58 pm


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Magic Hate Ball
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#87 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:19 am

Just finished watching this. First Billy Wilder movie ever, and I hope the rest are just as good. A little bit scattered at times, but good. One of those really interesting movies I like like Grapes of Wrath or Citizen Kane, the kind that makes you drop everything to watch.

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#88 Post by DrewReiber » Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:51 am

Magic Hate Ball wrote:Just finished watching this. First Billy Wilder movie ever, and I hope the rest are just as good.
Not all of them are, no. I took a Billy Wilder class a few years ago and 'Ace in the Hole' was easily one of my favorites, so if you liked that one I'll recommend a few more. My other personal favorites were 'The Major and the Minor', 'Sunset Boulevard, 'Stalag 17', 'Witness for the Prosecution', 'The Apartment', and 'One, Two, Three'.

I would also recommend avoiding a number of his works, but I'm sure that will just draw ire from his bigger supporters on the board. As such, I'll just risk my life on one title and say that 'Spirit of St. Louis' is possibly one of the most hilariously moronic and contrived films I've seen in years. It's most redeeming quality is that James Stewart spends an uncomfortable amount of time talking to an animated insect.

If you see any of the ones I mentioned, please stop by and drop another review on the board. Thanks.

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Jeff
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#89 Post by Jeff » Sat Sep 08, 2007 5:26 am

Magic Hate Ball wrote:Just finished watching this. First Billy Wilder movie ever, and I hope the rest are just as good.
Meet you over here.

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souvenir
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#90 Post by souvenir » Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:54 am

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers has put Ace in the Hole at #23 on his top DVDs of the year. I'm sure all the kids will be in a frenzy to buy it now with the "Hot Bonus" of the original theatrical trailer on the disc.

soma
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#91 Post by soma » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:56 am

DVDTALK has just listed this as their #1 DVD release of 2007.

Still waiting for mine in the post though :(

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ColtonicAndy
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#92 Post by ColtonicAndy » Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:18 pm

Brilliant movie and a just as brilliant DVD. =D>

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bkimball
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#93 Post by bkimball » Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:15 pm

This film gave me the same feelings that Hitchcock films do - a film that was clearly ahead of its time. Kirk Douglas is one of the most despicable characters of up to that point in 1951.

I really want to read reviews of the film from the time of its original release as to find out what the media of the day thought of his depiction.

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Max von Mayerling
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#94 Post by Max von Mayerling » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:04 pm

Watching this acidic romp again, I noticed for the first time that the name of the carnival company is "The Great S&M Amusement Corp." At 01:08:23 it appears in the frame prominently and repeatedly.

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HerrSchreck
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#95 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:48 am

That's pure Wilder at his sneeringest. I picked up on that too. The movie is fantastic acid in your eyewash-- totally fucking love the thing to death.

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Zumpano
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#96 Post by Zumpano » Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:08 pm

Amazing film. I think it totally holds up to Wilder's best; the writing and direction are superb, concise, and all necessary. Not a wasted moment. I think the camerawork in the film is severely underrated.

I wanted to comment about a funny (to me) comment that Wilder makes on the supplemental features (1986 AFI Appearance). This is a pleasant enough Q&A with Wilder, but he made me laugh when he was talking about the studios and the kind of pictures he makes. He said that he knows what kind of pictures he can make, and which ones he cannot, and what he avoids because his competency levels. But he says:
"I could make a Bertolucci meets a Rambo because it's sure box office, but I wouldn't know how to make it."

Does he really say that? I had to rewind it, he could've said "Belushi meets Rambo", but either way...the thought of that combination is hilarious and awesome. I would LOVE to see a "Bertolucci meets Rambo".

I just thought that was a humorous comment I thought I'd share and see if anyone else caught it and got a kick out of it. That Wilder is a funny guy.

Now, when's "Fedora" gonna get a release?

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HerrSchreck
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#97 Post by HerrSchreck » Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:11 pm

That comment is the essence of not only Ace In The Hole (massively black, stinging sarcasm as well as straight wit.. but more usually the former) but the whole of the best of Wilder. The man had a wonderful sense of story composition in terms of cinematic narrative, but the ear and brain for incisive metaphors and wicked use of dialog on display in his masterpieces (particularly Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Ace In The Hole, The Apartment, hell even the late and relatively weak Buddy Buddy) is absolutely reflective of what would come out of the mouth of Wilder the person at any given random moment.

It is a wonderful film, and the release is exemplary-- CC at its best.

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Person
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#98 Post by Person » Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:27 pm

Zumpano wrote:I think the camerawork in the film is severely underrated.
Indeed. It has one of the greatest crane shots in Cinema, I feel, when the literal 'media circus' is revealed.

I am a big fan of H. L. Mencken and this film, more than any other, reminds of Menken's America, or "Moronia" * as he frequently characterised it. He was still alive (1880-1956) when Ace in the Hole came out and as he himself was a journalist, he may well have went to see it and I can imagine him loving it.

* I also love Mencken's label for the ignorant middle class - "booboisie".

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aox
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#99 Post by aox » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:10 pm

Sorry to bring this up, but are the audio skips/blips during the credits universal, or do I have a defective disc? I can't tell if they are digital or not. I only hear them during the credits and a few when they are towing the car in the beginning. They are totally gone by the time we reach the office. With only a few throughout the film (eg: 4:46; 4:50- What about the $20*0).

I am thinking perhaps my HD wires are bad.

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reno dakota
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#100 Post by reno dakota » Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:30 pm

aox wrote:Sorry to bring this up, but are the audio skips/blips during the credits universal, or do I have a defective disc? I can't tell if they are digital or not. I only hear them during the credits and a few when they are towing the car in the beginning. They are totally gone by the time we reach the office. With only a few throughout the film (eg: 4:46; 4:50- What about the $20*0).
I just checked my disc and found no audio problems in the spots you mention (not sure what the $20*0 is, though). Have you tried playing the disc in a different player, or on a computer?

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