Why is "Ace In The Hole" so mistreated on video?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gordon McMurphy, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Watched The Lost Weekend last night. Great film. Okay transfer from Universal. Originally a Paramount film, of course. The question is: Why is Ace In The Hole not on VHS or DVD? I saw it on the British movie channel, Film Four last year, and the picture quality was pretty good. Does anyone know why it has been so badly treated on video over the years? A DVD sometime soon would be great. Maybe once Paramount release Sunset Blvd. hmmm?

    Thanks for reading,


    Gordon
     
  2. Bob Graham

    Bob Graham Supporting Actor

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    ACE IN THE HOLE is one of my favorite films, but at the time of its release it was a box office failure and somewhat of an embrassment to Paramount as it was perceived as too dark and cynical. The fact that it pictured members of the press in an unfavorable light didn't help. It never achieved the mitigating cult status that leads to rediscovery and video release. I like to think of it as Wilder's "best kept secret". I would defintely like to see it released on DVD but I'm not holding my breath.
     
  3. Craig Sherman

    Craig Sherman Stunt Coordinator

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    When I saw "Ace in the Hole" a while back at L.A.'s New Beverly Cinema, it ran under the title (printed on the film) "The Big Carnival." You should have seen my friends, fans of Wilder, as the movie began, and they were saying, "wait a minute, this is Ace in the Hole!"

    Anyone know what the current running US title is? I assumed it was like Hitchcock's Young and Innocent, which, when played in America, was retitled The Girl was Young.

    Back on my meds,

    CS
     
  4. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    The original title was just considered too savagely ironic to live with in 1951 when the film was released as "The Big Carnival." I assume that officially remains the US title, although Wilder shot it as "Ace in the Hole."
     
  5. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    There was a screening of this last week at part of an AFI retrospective hosted by Neil LaBute. I wasn't able to go, but the ad did use the "Ace in the Hole" title.
     
  6. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I've been asking this question for about 5 years now. This is one of my absolute favorite movies. At the time of it's release, people thought it to be too cynical and that people would never flock to a disaster like that. Boy were they wrong (Baby Jessica & the recent PA mining entrapment) sure proved that.
    I just saw this on the big screen in Chicago two weeks ago and everyone in the theater loved it. I think the movie's cult is growing and hopefully Paramount realizes this. I hate to say it, but maybe Wilder's death will help spur on the release of this title on DVD. Most reviewers and Wilder aficianados rank this very high on their Wilder lists. It was even listed in several newspapers when he died as one of his movies that you should see. That's kind of weird considering that it's very hard to get your hands on.
    As for the title, it was originally "Ace in the Hole" and was renamed "The Big Carnival" to try and draw in more people. I recently bought an original poster from the movie with the original title and the dealer had an alternate copy where there was a second sheet of paper with "The Big Carnival" on it that was literally pasted over the top of "Ace in the Hole", so this was a running change once the movie was in theaters.
    I sent an E-mail to Criterion asking them to release this since Paramount apparently has no intent off doing so, but I never received any reply. I think that it's time to start a writing campaign to Paramount.
    I guess in the meantime, I'll get by with my copy recorded off of AMC several years ago. Remember when they used to show good movies? [​IMG]
     
  7. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    A fabulous film which I always watch whenever it's on TV. The dialogue is razor-sharp with wit and Kirk Douglas gives one of his finest performances. Many of Billy Wilder's films cast a cynical look at people and Ace in the Hole delivers cynicism in spades! It's certainly time Paramount released this.
     
  8. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Billy Wilder has not been rendered justice on DVD. Hopefully, the upcoming Paramount release of his masterpiece, SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950), will turn the tide and Special Editions of his work will slowly start to emerge. Of his films not yet available on DVD, the most shining examples of his style are FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO (1943; owned by Universal), A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948; Universal), ACE IN THE HOLE (1951; Paramount), ONE, TWO, THREE (1961; MGM) and THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1970; MGM). The only one of these I have never watched is the first one, but I hope to catch it next month at London’s National Film Theatre as part of their Erich von Stroheim retrospective. As for re-issues, I hope Universal will restore DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944; the substandard Image Entertainment DVD is out-of-print) and release a Special Edition soon, as fully befits one of the highlights of American film noir. Paramount owns STALAG 17 (1953; available as a bare-bones disc), while MGM holds the rights to WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957), SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) and THE APARTMENT (1960), all of which could withstand a makeover on DVD – SOME LIKE IT HOT’s current edition has some commendable supplements, to be sure, but there’s so much more than can be done for such a popular and important classic!

    As for ACE IN THE HOLE, it is undoubtedly among Wilder’s greatest - apart from being, perhaps, his most pessimistic film. It contains Kirk Douglas’ definitive performance as well, in my opinion - another great film of his made the same year by Paramount and also unavailable on DVD, is William Wyler’s DETECTIVE STORY. I would obviously pick both of them up immediately on their eventual release!

    Let us then hope that SUNSET BOULEVARD will sell enough copies to ensure that more Wilder comes our way on DVD!
     
  9. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    Thanks to all that replied. Think I'll contact Paramount and Criterion now!

    Great film, glad there arw fans of it here.


    Gordon
     
  10. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Roderick,
    Here's my post from about 2 months ago detailing the status of all of Wilder's movies on DVD. I think you'll really like "Five Graves to Cairo". It's definitely an underrated movie.
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...261#post763783
    Gordon,
    Do you have an address for Paramount? I would also like to send them a letter regarding "Ace in the Hole"
     
  11. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    any movement on this at all?

    i can't believe a studio just lets something like this wither away in the vaults.
     
  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Ace In The Hole hasn't been treated badly on video at all. How could it, without a release? [​IMG]
     
  13. Agee Bassett

    Agee Bassett Supporting Actor

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    Martin Blythe of Paramount stated recently at this forum that, in lieu of the Sunset Blvd. restoration, The Big Carnival (a.k.a., Ace in the Hole) is at present being discussed as a candidate for the same process and DVD release. No decisions or formal plans have yet been made. (*knock on wood*)
     
  14. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I didn't see Mr. Blythe's comments. If this is true, I'm going to be one of the happiest people on the planet. Maybe, they can still get Kirk Douglas for some extras like a commentary. This is still far & away my most wanted movie on DVD.

    I would like to help spread the word and everytime I show this classic to somebody, they immediately fall in love with it, but I'm not about to go loaning my taped VHS, since I haven't seen this movie broadcast for several years.

    I hope that they're also looking at "A Foreign Affair".

    As a side note, they're are 3-4 bootleg copies of this movie being sold daily on Ebay for about $25-$30 and while that isn't an enormous amount, it shows that there is definitely a demand for this title.
     
  15. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    I remember reading back around the time of the Criterion LaserDisc release of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing that Spike was a big fan of Ace In The Hole and had spent much time while assembling the DtRT LD badgering Criterion to aquire it.

    Somewhat related, any Billy Wilder fan who has not read Cameron Crowe's book Conversations With Wilder should run out and buy a copy for themselves for Christmas.
     
  16. Agee Bassett

    Agee Bassett Supporting Actor

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