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Monday, July 4th, 2011
12:52 am - Stalag 17 icons:
dangelos_song Teaser:

Now see here, Scarlett. I'm crazy about you and always have been. I gave you kisses for breakfast, kisses for lunch, and kisses for supper...and now I find that you're eating out.Collapse )

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Monday, August 10th, 2009
11:19 pm - Check out our discussion on Ball of Fire this week!


We are a radio show consisting of students from across the country who want to share our love for classic movies through online radio. We will air every Tuesday at 11pm, and will have a podcast for those who cannot listen. We hope you will join us!

Clicking on the banner will take you to our blog where all of our important links are listed. Thanks!

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Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
2:26 pm - Ace In The Hole Finally on dvd!

In case you didn't know, The Criterion Collection is releasing Ace In The Hole, one of the least-seen Billy Wilder masterpieces, in July.

I can't wait. I finally got to see this a few months back, thanks to Turner Classic Movies, and it's just as good as those who've seen it have always said.

Kirk Douglas is wonderful.

It's Billy Wilder at his cynical best, right up there with Double Indemnity.

And finally, you may be for the war, you may be against the war. You may be for Bush, you may be against Bush.

But everyone should be against Bush ruining Stalag 17.


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Tuesday, December 26th, 2006
7:28 pm - Three by Billy

I've seen three of Billy's movies in the past few months. We'll start with the most recent and work back.

The Emperor Waltz: Billy himself didn't care for this movie, he called it one of his failures. It's one of the movies in Conversations With Wilder that doesn't get much mention. Cameron Crowe tried to get him to speak about it more but Billy didn't like dwelling on those movies he didn't care for.

That said, there's a lot here to like. The story of an American record player salesman trying to get the Emperor to endorse his product, it's a funny movie. For a musical, the songs are sub-par, but there is some chemistry between Bing Crosby and Jean Arthur. It's not the towering passion of, say, Bogart and Bacall but it is there, just enough to keep the movie zipping along.

Bing Crosby has a lot of fun with this role. He's very good at comedy. The animals in this movie are actually funny. Jean Arthur seems a little miscast but does a good job overall.

There's some terrific work from the minor characters. The vetertinarian is great ("my colleague Sigmund Freud and I have a theory..."), the actor playing Arthur's father turns in some good work too. My favorite character in the piece is the Emperor himself. Sad, funny, wise, all at once, it's a great character.

The Fortune Cookie: Great stuff. Lemmon and Matheau, in ther first pairing for Wilder, I believe. The story of a cameraman who gets injured at a football game and his shyster lawyer of a brother-in-law who smells big bucks in the offing, this is a gem. Lemmon and Matheau make a great team as always, with some nice supporting work from the guy playing Boom Boom Jackson and two detectives out to poke holes in Lemmon's story.

The Spirit of St. Louis: Jimmy Stewart had a penchant for taking roles he was simply too old for. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, he made us believe in his performance as a wet behind the ears young lawyer.

But we never buy that he's Lindbergh for a second. He's just too old. Nearly fifty when the film was made, he's never all that convincing as a 25 year old. It's not a bad performance; Stewart always was a terrific actor, it's just not convincing. Which is too bad, because Lindbergh is often the only one on screen during the entire runtime.

But the movie around is pretty good. The near crash over the ocean is perfect. Apparently, Steven Spielberg has the sequence memorized, score and all, and once performed it for Cameron Crowe during a conversation about Wilder. It's a great piece of direction. You know in your gut he'll be okay, but Wilder still makes you worry about him.

The scene between Lindbergh and the fly generated plenty of discussion. Chopped out of an earlier Wilder-written movie (Ball of Fire, I think), he put back in for this script. It works. Stewart's down-home delivery rises above the cheesiness of the scene.

All three movies are definitely worth a look. I'm always a little sad when I see a new Wilder. They don't make them like he did anymore and they never will. I've seen 16 of the 25 movies Billy directed. He remains a master.

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Sunday, April 9th, 2006
12:00 am - Calling all fans!

[cross-posted as far as the eye can see.]

Introducing the very first (and so far only) livejournal
community devoted to the fabulous Shirley MacLaine!

Come on, join it. You know you want to.

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2006
2:55 pm

A few weeks ago, I saw Witness For The Prosecution for the first time. What a great movie. The movie just zips along, with great direction and a great cast: Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Elsa Lancaster. They're all great but the movie rests on the shoulders of Charles Laughton, who gleefully steals every scene that he is in. According to Conversations With Wilder, Billy found Laughton delightful to work with, a master actor who would bring something new to each scene, each take. Laughton is wonderful to watch here, as he brings so many emotions to the screen, his "kid in a candy store" delight when the difficult case is brought to him, his petulance when confronted with the demands of his nurse, his slow build to rage during the justly famous, "Are you not a LIAR?" scene, his admiration of Marlene Dietrich throughout the film. A masterpiece.

You know, it's very sad, but while watching the coverage of the recent Sago Mine disaster, the cynic in me could not help but thinking of Ace In The Hole. I've never seen the movie, but I've read a lot about it, and it seems to me to be very timely right now.

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Sunday, November 6th, 2005
1:23 am - Interesting article on Billy


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Tuesday, October 25th, 2005
7:57 pm

Hi all,

Just finished watching The Lost Weekend, a Billy Wilder that I'd never seen. I really liked it. Ray Milland's performance is great, a total change from the comic cluelessness of The Major and The Minor.

What really impressed me though is this: Billy Wilder made a horror movie. I know it's supposed to be a social film, about a social problem. But it's a horror movie. Ray Milland's performance, the way he's helplessly trapped, the famous d.t's scenes, the score by Miklos Rozsca (and I thought the Day The Earth Stood Still was hollywood's first use of the theremin), the shots of Ray's eyes darting around as the phone rings (which instantly reminded me of Milland's true horror movie, X...The Man With The X-Ray Eyes). It's pure horror.

And I loved it.

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Saturday, September 3rd, 2005
12:35 am

Hey, just to get some activity going on here, if any of you guys are members of movie-related communities, and you feel like it, plug this community for me.

Also, if anyone wants to pretty the commuity up, let me know. I kinda suck at that stuff.

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Saturday, August 27th, 2005
5:35 pm - The apartment

I came to this film expecting a light hearted romantic comedy. Watching the trailer did nothing to eliminate this idea. The actual film is hardly light hearted, and is really rather sad, and dramatic.

The set up is fairly antiquated, and somewhat sexist. Jack Lemmon plays CC Baxter, a quiet gentleman working as a small cog in a very big insurance company. He also happens to have a very spacious apartment to himself. Word gets around the office about the apartment and Baxter’s agreement to not be home on certain nights. Soon enough every male executive in the office is hitting him for use of the apartment for evening trysts.

Though modern audiences probably grimace at such a concept, it is pulled off quite well. For the most part, the comedy remains intact. When I said that it isn’t a comedy, I don’t mean that there isn’t lots of humor to be found. It’s just that the drama is more involved than what we typical consider to be comedy. There are some truly funny scenes one of which has Baxter getting out his apartment planner, rescheduling several visits from the office men. In my favorite scene, he cooks pasta with a tennis racket.

The conflict of the film involves one of the top executives of the office, Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) and a fun loving elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLain). When Sheldrake begins using the apartment to rekindle his affair with Kubelik, he promotes Baxter at the office, to keep him satisfied. Not knowing that Kubelik is Sheldrake’s love interest, Baxter begins courting her himself.

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Monday, August 22nd, 2005
3:10 pm - Spirit of St. Louis

I just watched this on T.V. the other day. It was not a bad film, though certainly not up there with Double Indemnity or the Apartment. Jimmy Stewart is great in it, though in any of his films I can't help but see Jimmy Stewart. I don't see Charles Lindberg, I see Jimmy Stewart...if that makes sense. I found it interesting that Billy Wilder directed this film, though it's not his usual type of film. But he inserts some humorous dialogue which makes you know it's a Billy Wilder film.
I recommend it if you can find it.
Has anyone else seen it?

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Thursday, August 18th, 2005
3:54 am - Damn.

So, there's this huge video store near my apartment here in Seattle called Scarecrow Video. I was looking up Tsai Ming-Liang's "The Hole" on their website, and to my surprise, one of the results was "Ace in the Hole - release date Sept. 6th". Since that's pretty much Wilder's only film that has never been released on VHS or DVD, you can imagine I was pretty stoked. So, anyway, I figure, "I'll just go pre-order it online right now." I look it up, and it's a documentary about Saddam Hussein.

Sigh. I don't think I'll ever see that damn movie.

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Thursday, August 11th, 2005
3:43 pm

None of my friends care about the Lost Weekend iconI made, so I'll post about it here.

Isn't it AMAZING?

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Sunday, August 7th, 2005
12:31 pm - Hello

Does anyone know where I could find some good Some Like It Hot icons? It's like my new favorite film!

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Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005
3:14 pm - Hi, I'm new here

I've been considering buying the Double Indemnity DVD from Image, but I've read a few reviews that say the transfer isn't very good. Is this true? Is it still worth getting? I finally saw this film a few weeks ago and loved it.

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Thursday, July 28th, 2005
1:43 pm


Some quotations:

"She has breasts of granite and a mind like a Gruyere cheese."

                                             -Billy Wilder on Marilyn Monroe

"The trouble with Tony Curtis is that he's interested only in tight pants and wide billing."

                                             -Billy Wilder

"Necking with Marilyn Monroe is like kissing Hitler"

                                              -Tony Curtis, after Some Like it Hot

"I am able to look at my wife again and not want to hit her because she is a woman."

                                              -Billy Wilder, confiding to reporters at the end of filming Some Like it Hot (the admission of expressed relief at not having to deal with Marilyn Monroe on a daily basis)


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Thursday, July 7th, 2005
2:04 am - Ernie Lehman

The co-writer of Sabrina has died. Screenwriting legend Ernie Lehman is dead at 89. Sabrina has always been one of my favorite Wilder movies. Lehman also wrote North By Northwest, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music.

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Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005
11:21 pm

So Wilder's quote selected for the top 100 list were:

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." from Sunset Blvd at #7
"I am big! It's the pictures that got small." from Sunset at #24
"Well, nobody's perfect." from Some Like it Hot at #48

Though, as I watched it I began to care less and less about the list anyway.

The rest of the list is here.

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Monday, June 20th, 2005
2:30 pm

Just a reminder:

AFI's One Hundred Years, One Hundred Quotes is on tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8pm on CBS. Scroll back on the community page to see Wilder's nominated quotes. I'm sure he'll get a couple on the top 100.

That aside, anyone see any good movies lately?

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Thursday, May 5th, 2005
9:47 pm - Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

I found this article interesting. I'd love to see The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes exactly as Wilder intended it. http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,1472521,00.html

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