|Ace on the Screen: A
Weekend Tribute to Billy Wilder
This is an Aero Theatre Exclusive!
"Somebody asked me once, Is it necessary or advantageous for a
director to know how to write? I said, Not necessarily, but it helps if he
knows how to read." Billy Wilder.
Sometimes it seems like Hollywood was invented for Billy Wilder to roast over an open
fire. His films from SUNSET BOULEVARD to STALAG 17 to THE
APARTMENT are equal parts venom and poetry, nihilism and bruised romanticism.
Almost as old as the 20th century (he was born in 1906 in what is now Poland), Wilder grew
up among gamblers, hustlers and world wars " I learned many things about
human nature, none of them favorable," he said about his childhood. Arriving in
Hollywood in 1933 (where he roomed with fellow émigré Peter Lorre), Wilder began banging
out scripts for such fast, furious comic gems as NINOTCHKA and BALL OF FIRE with Charles
Brackett before turning to directing in the early 1940's. From film noir masterpieces such
as DOUBLE INDEMNITY and ACE IN THE HOLE through a string of great farces and
romantic comedies FOREIGN AFFAIR, SABRINA, SOME LIKE IT HOT, THE SEVEN YEAR
ITCH filmmaker Wilder had a spectacular career unlike any of his peers.
Join us for a Billy Wilder retrospective weekend, which also includes screenings of AVANTI!
and IRMA LA DOUCE.
Thursday, July 22 7:30 PM
Double Feature: SUNSET BOULEVARD, 1950, Paramount, 110 min. Director
Billy Wilder created one of his most enduring masterpieces in this dark, glittering poison
pen letter to all things Hollywood, told in flashback by murdered screenwriter Joe Gillis
(William Holden), whose final job is playing paid-companion to egocentric, aging silent
film goddess Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Trailer
STALAG 17, 1953, Paramount, 120 min. Dir. Billy Wilder.
William Holden, a sergeant with mercenary instincts, is gradually suspected by fellow WWII
POWs of being a traitor. Director Otto Preminger co-stars as the camp's Prussian
commandant. With Don Taylor, Robert Strauss, Richard Erdman. Trailer | Buy
Friday, July 23 7:30 PM
Double Feature: SOME LIKE IT HOT, 1959, MGM Repertory, 120 min.
Cross-dressing musicians Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon take it on the lam from the Chicago
mob, while luscious Marilyn Monroe falls for a playboy whos a playgirl
Director Billy Wilders blend of sexual confusion and slapstick gave his three stars
arguably the best comic roles of their careers. Trailer
AVANTI!, 1972, MGM Repertory, 140 min. Dir. Billy Wilder.
Uptight millionaire Jack Lemmon has his eyes opened (and more) when he travels to
Italy to collect his late father's corpse and finds himself falling for the lovely
daughter (Juliet Mills) of his dad's Italian mistress. Trailer | Buy
Saturday, July 24 7:30 PM
Double Feature: THE APARTMENT, 1960, MGM Repertory, 125 min. Dir. Billy
Wilder. Jack Lemmon ingratiates himself with his corporate colleagues by lending out his
apartment for their extra-marital affairs - but his promotion plans backfire when he falls
head-over-heels for boss Fred MacMurrays new gal-pal (Shirley MacLaine). Trailer
IRMA LA DOUCE, 1963, MGM Repertory, 147 min. Dir.
Billy Wilder. Overworked (and undersexed) Parisian cop Jack Lemmon holds down a
dozen jobs - just so he can keep hooker girlfriend Shirley MacLaine from sleeping with any
other men! Trailer | Buy
Sunday, July 25 7:30 PM
Double Feature: DOUBLE INDEMNITY, 1944, Universal, 107 min. Dir. Billy
Wilder. Fred MacMurray plays Walter Neff, the sardonic insurance salesman who is willingly
seduced by slinky Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) into planning and executing the
murder of her newly insured husband. Edward G. Robinson is Keyes, Neffs sharp
colleague and gruff friend, who smells a rat when Phyllis hubby has a fatal train
"accident," qualifying the femme fatale for the lucrative double-indemnity
ACE IN THE HOLE, 1951, Paramount, 111 min. Dir.
Billy Wilder. Kirk Douglas is withering as the embittered, alcoholic reporter looking for
his piece of the pie -- when the story of a man trapped in a cave-in falls into his lap,
he exploits it to the hilt. Trailer