Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)
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Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival)
Paramount's ace screenwriting team of Billy Wilder, Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels came up with their bitterest, most trenchant screenplay to date with 1951's The Big Carnival--which, perhaps significantly, was one of the team's few flops. Kirk Douglas stars as a hotshot big-city reporter who has drunk himself out of every job he's ever held. Reduced to working for a backwater New Mexico daily, Douglas smells an opportunity to return to the Big Time when a miner (Richard Benedict) is trapped in a cave-in. Thanks to Douglas' promotional savvy, the miner's plight turns… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Ace in the Hole is a revelation, as timely now as when it was made."
‑ Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle
"This 1951 film, about a cynical reporter who seizes on the plight of a man trapped in a mine shaft to promote his career, is cold, lurid, and fascinating, propelled by the same combination of moral outrage and sneaky admiration."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"Billy Wilder followed up Sunset Boulevard with this biting tale which cast a skeptical eye on the media and feels just as apropos in our age of 24-hour news."
‑ Austin Trunick, Under the Radar
"One year after scandalizing Hollywood with his bilious classic Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder was up to his old tricks with Ace in the Hole, which did to journalism -- and to the average American -- what his previous picture had done to Tinseltown."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Quite possibly the most Billy Wilder-ey of all Wilder's films."
‑ Tim Brayton, Antagony & Ecstasy
"A lurid pulp indictment of exploitation, opportunism, doctored intelligence, torture for profit, insatiable greed, and shady journalism."
‑ Nathan Lee, Village Voice
"Ace in the Hole is badly weakened by a poorly constructed plot, which depends for its strength upon assumptions that are not only naive but absurd."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"It's the most scabrous, uncompromised work from Billy Wilder, who never made a movie that wasn't kind of an asshole."
‑ Walter Chaw, Film Freak Central
"A prophetic scald"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Not only did Wilder pillory the media in Ace in the Hole, he made monkeys out of everyone. Look at you, he said, you eat this drivel with both hands."
‑ Christopher Null,
"As a diatribe against all that is worst in human nature, it has moments dipped in pure vitriol."
‑ , Time Out New York
"By no means a great -- or even a particularly good -- movie, but its sustained nastiness shows a stunning disregard for box-office niceties."
‑ J. Hoberman, Village Voice
"Over 60 years later, Ace in the Hole has lost none of its sharpness. The only thing that's hard to believe about the movie is that Wilder and his co-screenwriters could have been this far ahead of the curve in their criticism of the media."
‑ Eric Melin,
"Billy Wilder's take on human selfishness and callousness makes for one of the most angry and cynical films ever made."
‑ Mark R. Leeper,
"Wilder's cynical film of fame-seeking journalists, corrupt politicians, media circus, and the masses' appetite for live tragedy (a man trapped in a cave)was ahead of its times."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
More reviews for Ace in the Hole (The Big Carnival) on Rotten Tomatoes

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