David Sterritt Christian Science Monitor
It's dark, funny, ferocious, and vintage Wilder all the way. show more
A searing example of writer-director Billy Wilder at his most brilliantly misanthropic. An uncompromising portrait of human nature at its worst, the film was so far ahead of its time in its depiction of a media circus and the public's appetite for tragedy that it was a commercial disaster when first released, but now stands as one of the great American films of the 1950s. show more
Phil Hall Film Threat
So ham-handed and relentlessly overbaked that it is easy to see why audiences initially stayed away from it. Just when and how did anyone come to see this as a classic? show more
A.O. Scott The New York Times
Ace in the Hole is an acquired taste -- and an unforgettable one. show more
Billy Wilder's direction captures the feel of morbid expectancy that always comes out in the curious that flock to scenes of tragedy. show more
J. Hoberman Village Voice
Ace in the Hole is a movie about the fascination of disaster that is itself a fascinating disaster. show more
March 06, 2012 ct00000000117201
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Ace in the Hole recently was shown on TCM, which is where I first heard of it. Usually I can sit through an entire movie but remember very little of it, even one that I enjoy. However, Ace in the Hole has not evaporated from my memory. The primary setting is that of an obscure place in 1950\'s New Mexico. A local shopkeeper is trapped in a cave when an opportunistic, washed-up journalist pounces upon his plight as the vehicle for a chance at a Pulitzer Prize. Complicit in milking the trapped man\'s perilous position is the self-promoting local sheriff. The man\'s discontented wife approves of the media event they create, gladly profiting from it herself. The entrance to the grounds of the sacred Indian cave, which started out being free, has an escalating charge for entry posted as the crowds continue to gather. What struck me was that I identified with the husband, back from the war with his new city wife and hoping to be successful in his Indian artifacts desert shop. He maintains an optimistic attitude during the ordeal, seeming to be big-hearted and naive, while even the wife, for whom he is concerned, slakes her thirst for greed as her loving husband languishes. I think it was King Solomon who wrote that ...\"all is vanity...\" with one exception. It appears that the characters in this film didn\'t know what that one thing is.
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