Ace in the Hole
Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels and Walter Newman based on a story by Victor Desny
This movie is another I went into with no particular idea of what it’s about. Chuck Tatum is a reporter who is convinced he’s a big shot. He bullies his way into a small town paper in New Mexico and smart talks to all the other characters. Speaking of the other characters, Herbie is so super adorable. Like a cute little Jimmy Olsen. The plot of the movie is about how awful people can be. Charles happens upon a man trapped in a mine, exploits the situation and creates a media circus around rescuing this man. Ensuring the rescue takes several days longer than it has to so that he can create the best possible human interest story.
It’s an examination of the relationship between the media and the actual incidents being reported on. It’s surprisingly still very accurate message wise, and I wonder just how many things that happen now have similar stories attached to them.
Wow, there’s a lot of racism in this film. I mean, yes, it is 1951, but so much down talk to the native Americans and in character racism. At least they actually cast indigenous actors, it seems to be more than current Hollywood can do. But of course, the story isn’t really about them. It’s about white people mining their sacred burial ground and making money off an accident there.
Does it make me love the people? Well, I love Herbie. He’s so adorable, and I, of course, detected homosexual subtext between him and Chuck, which I appreciated.
As for Chuck, for someone so willing to mock people with a belt and suspenders at the same time, he certainly wears a belt and suspenders himself. Man, I love the fashions of the 50s. The pants are so baggy, so high waisted. He’s a pretty hard to like character, with all the
Bechdel test: No. Lorraine, the house keeper and a random tourist lady are the only women who are named and they never talk to each other.
Charles Tatum: I’ve done a lot of lying in my time. I’ve lied to men who wear belts. I’ve lied to men who wear suspenders. But I’d never be so stupid as to lie to a man who wears both belt and suspenders.
Charles: When they bleached your hair, they must’ve bleached your brains, too.
Lorraine: I met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you – you’re twenty minutes.
Charles: is that boost or a knock, cause I haven’t time to figure it out.
State of Mind: Surprisingly gripping. I was impressed the sassiness of Lorraine and her dedication to living an independent life, and the moral panic that Chuck eventually goes through.