Had that blasted pneumonia just left Billy Wilder alone, he would have turned 100 this June 22. (As it was, he made it to 96, which is pretty damn impressive.) In celebration of his centennial, Turner Classic Movies -- AKA the Best TV Channel Ever Invented (apart, possibly, from GolTV) -- has planned a six-film series, starting on the 22nd with Double Indemnity, arguably Wilder's greatest achievement. The following day will feature five films, among them Sunset Blvd. (another sign that I'm a hack: I feel nothing watching this movie. Nothing.), Sabrina, and The Lost Weekend.

In addition to the mini-retrospective, TCM will also be offering something pretty special: A 90-minute interview with Wilder, edited down from three hours of footage that aired on German television in 1988. The TCM version of the interview is being called Billy Wilder Speaks and is described by the network as "a lesson in filmmaking, an oral history of the movie business and an intimate portrait of one of cinema's most talented masters." According to Variety, the interview footage (Which doesn't appear to have ever aired in the US before -- has anyone seen it?) is particularly valuable because Wilder, told that his words wouldn't be available in the US until after his death, was reportedly unusually frank in some of his comments. Eeeeeexcellent.
categories Features, Cinematical