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The (in) Complete Billy Wilder Film Review

Old 03-31-06, 04:34 PM
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The (in) Complete Billy Wilder Film Review

THE (IN) COMPLETE BILLY WILDER FILM REVIEW:
(here's my report card on the films of Billy Wilder, keep in mind i can barely write my name and my opinions are quite meaningless)
Buddy Buddy (1981) Saw it ages ago and remember being vaguely dissapointed, made late in Mr Wilders career with Matthau and Lemmon again (i remember thinking they were both long in the tooth then, of course this was years before Grumpy Old Men...etc) ....i'm giving it a B- but i need to see again to be sure
Fedora (1978) missed it INCOMPLETE
The Front Page (1974) Actually a very good remake as remakes go....Lemmon and Matthau are stellar and the supposting cast is great as well, made again in the 80's with Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner with much worse results. I really liked this one. A-
Avanti! (1972) This is an odd film....part comedy...part drama... i thought Juliet Mills (sp?) was great in this in a real tough role. Lemmon is fine as always. It's a little long but worth it. It seemed like a more personal film and im sure it got ignored at the box office. Check it out. A-
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) A different style director following his 60's oevre....this is a decent flick (from what i remember, i saw it years ago and was surprised to see it was a Wilder film) . B
The Fortune Cookie (1966) A morality play a bit heavy on the morals but still good... B+
Kiss Me, Stupid (1964) Critics deemed this "dirty" at the time, now of course it's tame, i like it, although "my favorite martian" is mis-cast (Jack Lemmon was born to play this role) Kim Novak does well and Dino is Dino.
The term 'bawdy' comes ti mind....the mechanic here was also the photographer in Fortune Cookie. A-
Irma la Douce (1963) Considered a bit of a let down at the time, it's a great film with some hilarious moments. Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine again, Mr Wilder took out the music and made this a straight comedy.
Also his first use of color...he would go back to B&W for his next 2 films. A
One, Two, Three (1961) This is a rapid fire comedy with James Cagney...another stellar film from the Wilder 60's canon, maybe his most underrated film. A laugh a minute...really. A+
The Apartment (1960) I've seen this a dozen time and it gets better every time. A must see for anyone who likes movies...(this was kind of remade a couple years ago with the kid
from American Pie and the girl from American Beauty...i can't remember the title, i think i blocked it out) Anyway there is not a wasted shot in the film and it a classic. A+
Some Like It Hot (1959) I actually put this in the top three films of all time. Maybe number one even....Jack Lemmon is in a class by himself here,
so many great scenes (not too mention the last which is a classic, how often does a comedy end with the best laugh? almost never) Marilyn Monroe was a pain in the ass to work with but its worth it...A++
Witness for the Prosecution (1957) can't believe i haven't seen this INCOMPLETE
Love in the Afternoon (1957) good but not great flick...B
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) never saw INCOMPLETE
The Seven Year Itch (1955) Marilyn Monroe in fine form (va-va-voom) still a little corny for me...typical 50's fare...fun but Wilders films would get better as the 60's began. B
Sabrina (1954) Hepburn and Bogie, William Holden again is here and he's quite good as well. Remade with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond with so-so results. A-
Stalag 17 (1953) Bill W. returns as a corupt POW....some of the comedic stuff is a little over the top but everything else is great. overall still .. A
Ace in the Hole (1951) Haven't seen INCOMPLETE
Sunset Blvd. (1950) WIlliam Holden starts as the narator (except he's floating upside down in the pool) It's rare when a film made 56 years ago still feels fresh A+
A Foreign Affair (1948) I think I've seen this but am drawing a blank... INCOMPLETE
The Emperor Waltz (1948) Haven't seen INCOMPLETE
The Lost Weekend (1945) Good but de-press-ing B+
Death Mills (1945) Haven't seen INCOMPLETE
Double Indemnity (1944) Haven't seen, I have a feeling i should see this one INCOMPLETE
Five Graves to Cairo (1943) Haven't seen INCOMPLETE
The Major and the Minor (1942) Haven't seen INCOMPLETE
Mauvaise graine (1934) Haven't seen INCOMPLETE

ok....thats it
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Old 03-31-06, 08:43 PM
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Nice work. Wilder is my favorite director and I'd have to agree on most of your comments. Kiss Me, Stupid was originally supposed to star Peter Sellers (who had a heart attack) and Marilyn Monroe (who died). I think it's a good movie, but it could have been great with those two. I'd also really recommend you see Charles Laughton's great hammy performance in Witness for the Prosecution. Double Indemnity was Wilder's first great film and is an essential. I also really enjoy The Major and the Minor and can't wait for it and Ace in the Hole to find a dvd release.
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