Billy Wilder’s 1951 film, Ace In The Hole works for many reasons – the first being the cracking script by Wilder, Lesser Samuels and Walter Newman. The script has some great lines and incredibly nuanced intricacies that would improve with every viewing. Secondly, Kirk Douglas delivers a blistering performance as Chuck Tatum. He’s all swagger and bravado on the outside, but within he’s filled with many insecurities. Douglas manages to add a physicality to the character of Tatum, even though this is a very dialogue heavy drama.
A critical and commercial flop at the time of its release, Billy Wilder’s Ace In The Hole has gone on to become a classic film with an important critique of the press and how it presents ‘news’ to the masses. There’s a reason for this – the film s a gripping noir drama that has become more and more relevant as time passes.
Budgeted at $1.8 million Ace In The Hole grossed $2.3 million at the box office in 1951.