A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Edward G. Robinson,
Charles Tatum, a down-on-his-luck reporter, takes a job with a small New Mexico newspaper. The job is pretty boring until he finds a man trapped in an old Indian dwelling. He jumps at the chance to make a name for himself by taking over and prolonging the rescue effort, and feeding stories to major newspapers. He creates a national media sensation and milks it for all it is worth - until things go terribly wrong. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Residents of Gallup, New Mexico were hired as extras. They were paid 75 cents an hour for a ten-hour day. Extras earned an additional three dollars if they could bring an automobile to the set. See more »
When Lorraine and Chuck are talking out in front of Minosa's store by the gas pumps, reflections of the crew moving around behind the camera can be seen in the store windows. See more »
The Press as the Vehicle of Manipulation of a Nation
The cynical, unethical and unscrupulous journalist Charles 'Chuck' Tatum (Kirk Douglas) arrives in a small New Mexico newspaper asking for a chance. He was fired from famous newspapers because of drinking problem, lying and even for having an affair with the wife of one of his bosses. His real intention is to use the small newspaper as a "swimming board" to a bigger one. After one year without a bang news and totally bored, Chuck travels with a younger reporter to make the coverage of a matter about rattlesnakes. When they arrive in an isolated gas station, he is informed that a man called Leo Minosa (Richard Benedict) is trapped alive in an old Indian mine in a nearby place called Mountain of the Seven Vultures. Chuck manipulates the local corrupt sheriff, the engineer responsible for the rescue operation and Leo's wife Lorraine Minosa (Jan Sterling), and a rescue that could be made using a simple and common process in twelve hours, lasts six days using a sophisticated drilling system and creating a circus in the previously desert place. Everybody profits with the accident except the victim.
Movies about manipulation of people are usually excellent. I remember Costa-Gravas' "Mad City (1997), Barry Levinson's "Wag the Dog (1997)", Howard Hawks' "His Girl Friday (1940)", and even the recent real case of the chemical weapons. Yesterday I saw "Ace in the Hole" for the first time and I really was impressed how this film is amazingly real and updated. There are elements present in every modern society, such as: the powerful sheriff very corrupt, like most of the worldwide members of the governments; the press, interested in selling news only; the victim used for other interests greater than rescuing him; and the people, completely manipulated and with very short memory. Kirk Douglas is amazing in the role of a nasty reporter. I do not understand why this movie is not in the IMDb Top 250. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "A Montanha dos Sete Abutres" ("The Mountain of the Seven Vultures")
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