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Ace in the Hole (1951)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir | 4 July 1951 (USA)
2:22 | Trailer

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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.


Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Herbie Cook (as Bob Arthur)
Al Federber
Leo Minosa
Lewis Martin ...
Papa Minosa
Frances Dominguez ...
Mama Minosa
Sam Smollett
Dr. Hilton
Bob Bumpas ...
Radio Announcer
Geraldine Hall ...
Nellie Federber


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 <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Rough, tough Chuck Tatum, who battered his way to the top ... trampling everything in his path - men, women and morals !


Drama | Film-Noir


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

4 July 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Carnival  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Billy Wilder's wife Audrey Young came up with the line, "I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons." 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 »


[first lines]
Charles Tatum: Hey. Pull up at the corner.
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We're Coming, Leo
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Performed by unidentified vocalist and band
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Evil carnival
18 June 2001 | by See all my reviews

Fifty years later,Billy Wilder's tour de force has worn so well it should be considered the finest movie dealing with the media,topping "network" for instance.The world described here is so depressing,so disheartening that it takes drama to new limits.Not only Tatum is evil,but so are the miner's wife and family who take advantage of the situation ,regardless of any morals.So is the faceless crowd ,who has a wild time, near a dying man.You and me,we could be part of this populace,and maybe we've already been!Remember the little South American girl who fell into a pit in the eighties.The fair sequences might have influenced Fellini for "la dolce vita" (hype about a girl who would have seen Virgin Mary).The soundtrack ,with its relentless thud ,is so oppressive you feel the unfortunate victim's plight within your body and your soul .

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