by guest writer
Ace in the Hole is in its entire form a landmark for film noir. Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) is looking for a new newspaper job in the small city in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It isn’t easy, as his past doesn’t help much. Chuck’s lust to develop a sensational story stops at nothing and his determination lacks even morality. Ace in the Hole is an in depth study of human deception, avarice and social position. From a down on his luck journalist Tatum seems to believe that he can become the greatest overnight, forgetting that lie and deceit will not work on the long run.
Billy Wilder’s command overall enthralls the viewer as he addresses the usual subjects of film noir in an unusual manner. He chooses to focus on the frail state of humans to depict a portrait of a society that is selling everything it can, not matter what the real cost is in terms of life preservation. The role of mass media is being analyzed bare naked – in this regard, the Spanish translation of the title, El gran carnaval, says it all, because the news is often for show only. There is no mercy in this movie, no kind gesture, only an intention to redeem a lost soul. Through his cinematography, Charles Lang Jr. gives the film the proper grim, bitter taste. The shadows and the light are always proving useful tools in generating the characters’s true colors.
photo: Paramount Pictures