Status of Billy Wilder films on DVD! Where is "Ace in the Hole"?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric Peterson, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Since Billy passed away about 2 months ago, I have watched nearly all of his films again, including several that he only had writing credits on. This has only cemented my opinion that he was the greatest filmmaker of all time. However, it seems that he is under-appreciated on DVD. Many of his films are out, but most have been given mediocre treatment at best. Below is a status of his films on DVD. There were 3 directors w/ 4 pictures on the AFI top 100 movie listing (Hitchcock, Wilder, & Spielberg). The DVDs released by the other 2 are generally incredible special editions. I was hoping that his death might bring a greater awareness to his films and possibly generate some new & improved releases (ala Kubrick), but alas it looks as though I'm just dreaming. I'm not asking for much, but a filmmaker of his caliber certainly deserves better (a nice clean print, anamorphic when possible and a film historian commentary track). Does anyone else here adore his movies as much as I do? In the meantime, I'll get by w/ my LDs and VHS copies.
    Not on DVD
    Ninotchka - Written by Wilder & directed by Lubitsch and starring Greta Garbo. I haven't heard any rumors about this title, yet it is a renowned classic.
    The Major & The Minor - Wilder's first directorial effort starring Ginger Rogers as a woman trying to disguise as a 12 year old, in order to get a half-price train ticket.
    Five Graves to Cairo - An incredible War drama about Rommel moving his forces across Africa w/ Eric Von Stroheim.
    A Foreign Affair - Wonderful drama that takes place in war torn Germany during the allied occupation starring Marlene Dietrich in a love triangle w/ John Lund & Jean Arthur. A very under appreciated Wilder film.
    Emperor Waltz - Wilder's only crack at a musical, but still worthy of seeing for the incredible Technicolor photography & Bing Crosby songs.
    Ace in the Hole (aka. The Big Carnival) - An absolute masterpiece starring Kirk Douglas as a crooked newspaper man who only cares about making a big story. This is widely considered one of Wilder's greatest movies, but has never seen release on any home video format. Spike Lee reportedly wanted to remake this a few years ago, but it seems that this project has died. This is definitely worth seeking out and seems like and ideal film for Criterion to take on.
    The Spirit of St. Louis - I very likeable biography of Charles Lindbergh starring Jimmy Stewart. Usually criticized due to Stewart playing someone half his real age.
    One, Two, Three - One of the funniest movies ever made(IMHO). James Cagney stars in his last movie (until Ragtime) as a Coca-Cola businessman trying to get Coke through the Iron Curtain.
    Kiss Me Stupid- One of Wilder's cult favorites starring Dean Martin & Kim Novak. Attacked at the time of it's release as a crude sex comedy, but would be considered quite tame by today's standards.
    Private Life of Sherlock Holmes - Wilder's pet project for many years and was originally made as 3+ hour road show movie. This is a film about some of the less successful Holmes cases & also explores the actual character of Holmes in greater detail. Tragically this movie was slashed before release and much of it has never been found. There is an LD available that has some of the missing footage.
    Avanti - Another cult favorite starring Jack Lemmon trying to recover his father's body in Italy.
    Fedora - Many consider this to be a companion piece to Sunset Boulevard as it has a similar theme and also stars William Holden.
    Buddy, Buddy - Wilder's final movie and fittingly starring Lemmon & Matthau.
    On DVD
    Ball of Fire - Written by Wilder & directed by Hawks. OOP DVD by HBO home video has a decent transfer w/ no extras.
    Double Indemnity - OOP DVD released by Image with a less than stellar transfer. This is widely considered the greatest Film Noir, but it certainly hasn't been treated as such on DVD.
    The Lost Weekend - On DVD w/ trailer only. Best picture winner for 1945 w/ Ray Milland as an alcoholic.
    Stalag 17 - Paramount DVD w/ no extras. Holden won best actor for this movie for this classic POW movie.
    Sabrina - Paramount DVD w/ a short featurette & trailer. The movie that made Hepburn a major star.
    The Seven Year Itch - The closest thing to a true SE DVD of any Wilder film. This DVD from Fox contains a nice documentary plus some extended scenes. The picture was cleaned up dramatically although some color shifting is evident at times.
    Love in the Afternoon - WB DVD w/ trailer only. Hepburn & Cooper classic love comedy.
    Witness for the Prosecution - MGM DVD w/ trailer only
    According to Agatha Christie, this was the best adaptation of any of her material.
    Some Like it Hot - Supposedly an SE, but there really isn't that much material and the film transfer once again is less than stellar and non-anamorphic. A film of this caliber certainly deserves a jam-packed SE.
    The Apartment - MGM DVD w/ trailer only. Wilder won 3 oscars for this movie, which was a record until Cameron did the same for Titanic. Many consider this Wilder's masterpiece, yet you couldn't tell from this DVD. There isn't even a booklet.
    Irma La Douce - MGM DVD w/ trailer only. This movie set many attendance records when it was released in 1963.
    The Fortune Cookie - MGM DVD w/ trailer only. The first pairing of Lemmon & Matthau. Matthau won best actor.
    The Front Page - On DVD by Goodtimes w/ a terribly cropped P&S Image. Remake of the 1930 classic w/ Lemmon & Matthau
    Rumored
    Sunset Boulevard - Arguably Wilder's best and most recognized film about an aging movie star and her inability to let go of the past. This one is screaming for an SE.
    If you made it through the entire post, thanks!!
     
  2. Henry V

    Henry V Stunt Coordinator

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    "Double Indemnity" is OOP as well,sad to say.
     
  3. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Thanks, I forgot to mention that, I'll update my post.
     
  4. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

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    Seeing how bad the transfer was for the DVD of Double Indemnity, I'm glad to see it OOP. This movie deserves a much better presentation.
    I have no idea what the problem is with Ace in the Hole. I wonder if there are any rights issues, I can't believe this great film has never been on home video. Probably my most wanted Wilder film on DVD (I already own many of the other unavailable titles on Laser).
     
  5. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I glad that there is somebody else out there who really appreciates "Ace in the Hole". I just bought an original poster from it a few weeks ago.

     
  6. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Does anybody know if Paramount still holds the rights to
    "Ace in the Hole"? I know that there are quite a few experts on this forum that know which studios own other studio's libraries and which films have changed hands over the years. I would like to send a message to whomever hold the rights to this title and possibly start a petition.


    On another note, The Digital Bits just posted some info in the rumor mill about a possible SE of Sunset Boulevard coming in the 3rd quarter w/ an all new documentary & commentary track by Wilder biographer Ed Sikov. WOOOOHH!!
     
  7. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    Huge Wilder fan here, and big cheerleader for a SE
    of The Apartment, especially.
    I have never seen One, Two, Three and would love to have that, too.
     
  8. Stu Rosen

    Stu Rosen Second Unit

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    According to this week's Variety, Kiss Me Stupid is coming out with a restored cut (supposedly making more explicit some of the hinted infidelities -- I haven't seen the film, so pardon the generalities) to theaters and eventually to MGM DVD.
     
  9. Jussi Tarvainen

    Jussi Tarvainen Second Unit

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    Thanks for the list! BTW, the R4 release of the Some Like It Hot SE is anamorphic and (almost) in the correct aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (it's actually 1.78:1, but hey, it's better than 1.66:1).
     
  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    straight from http://www.thedigitalbits.com/rumormill.html#0615
    We're hearing that Sunset will include an all-new documentary on the film (with new interviews with Glenn Close and others) as well as an audio commentary by Ed Sikov, the author of the Billy Wilder biography On Sunset Boulevard.
    fantastic news
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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