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Worth A Look: 4.17%
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Sucks: 8.33%

2 reviews, 12 user ratings

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Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"The best of the media satires."
5 stars

A great, bitter media satire, with Kirk Douglas at his most sweatily abrasive as Charles Tatum, an on-his-uppers newspaperman passing through Albuquerque looking for work.

He finds a job at a quiet local paper and ferments there for a year until a surefire story presents itself: a man (Richard Benedict) is trapped in a cave-in. Soon enough, throngs of vultures — the place is called the Mountain of the Seven Vultures — surround the site, looking to cash in or gawk or ride carnival rides while the trapped man suffers and develops pneumonia. For his part, Tatum prolongs the man’s agony so his status as the comeback kid of the national front page is assured. Director Billy Wilder and cowriters Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels throw in deft touches like the corrupt sheriff keeping a rattlesnake in a box (it won’t eat anything except bubble gum wrapped in foil) and the way the huge drill that’s supposed to be working towards the man’s freedom sounds like the ominous drumbeat of an Indian ritual (much is made of how the catastrophe is the result of an Indian curse). Early on, Tatum insultingly says “How” to a Native American newspaper staffer, who responds “Good afternoon, sir.” The sacred land of indigenous peoples becomes both insulted and injured, the site of death and of white America’s unerring capacity to distract and delude itself. It’s also one hell of a whip-smart entertainment, sardonic and sad and always with the wisecracks.

Subsequent media-evil movies had big shoes to fill.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16466&reviewer=416
originally posted: 08/25/15 15:45:03
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User Comments

1/06/18 robertrifkin100@aol.com This is the greatest film ever made 5 stars
9/06/15 hh what??? 1 stars
8/18/15 Anne Just saw the last 1/2 hour - great cinema! 5 stars
4/08/15 stanley welles timeless look at journalism 4 stars
9/24/13 David Hollingsworth Has one of the most scathing screenplays ever written. 5 stars
6/25/12 matthew thompson dalldorf Some of the best dialogue ever written! 5 stars
4/06/12 Carol Miles WOW and again WOW 5 stars
3/16/11 Eva Katz Saw it yesterday in Tel Aviv cinematheque. I shall read the newspapers with different eyes 5 stars
9/05/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess One of Wilder's best 5 stars
2/16/09 LOLA RAINBOW 1 stars
8/15/07 William Goss Douglas hams it up a bit too much, but otherwise, Wilder pre-nails modern media circus. 5 stars
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  DVD: 17-Jul-2007



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