IMDb > Ace in the Hole (1951)
Ace in the Hole
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Ace in the Hole (1951) More at IMDbPro »

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Ace in the Hole -- 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.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   15,754 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Billy Wilder (written by) &
Lesser Samuels (written by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Ace in the Hole on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 June 1951 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The plot is based on real events See more (138 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Kirk Douglas ... Chuck Tatum

Jan Sterling ... Lorraine Minosa
Robert Arthur ... Herbie Cook (as Bob Arthur)
Porter Hall ... Jacob Q. Boot

Frank Cady ... Al Federber
Richard Benedict ... Leo Minosa

Ray Teal ... Sheriff Gus Kretzer
Lewis Martin ... McCardle
John Berkes ... Papa Minosa
Frances Dominguez ... Mama Minosa
Gene Evans ... Deputy Sheriff
Frank Jaquet ... Sam Smollett
Harry Harvey ... Dr. Hilton
Bob Bumpas ... Radio Announcer
Geraldine Hall ... Nellie Federber
Richard Gaines ... Nagel
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roy Regnier ... Nagel - New York Editor (replaced by Richard Gaines) (scenes deleted)
Oscar Belinda ... Barker (uncredited)
Martin Bendleton ... Barker (uncredited)

Timothy Carey ... Construction Worker (uncredited) (unconfirmed)
Basil Chester ... Indian (uncredited)
Ken Christy ... Jessop (uncredited)
Stewart Kirk Clawson ... Federber Boy (uncredited)

Iron Eyes Cody ... Indian Copy Boy (uncredited)
Francisco Day ... Photographer (uncredited)
Lester Dorr ... Father Diego (uncredited)
Claire Du Brey ... Spinster (uncredited)
Edith Evanson ... Miss Deverich (uncredited)
William Fawcett ... Sad-Faced Man (uncredited)
John Stuart Fulton ... Boy (uncredited)

Joe Gray ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Charles Griffin ... Mr. Wendel (uncredited)
Larry Hogan ... Television Announcer (uncredited)
Frank Keith ... Fireman (uncredited)
Bob Kortman ... Digger (uncredited)
Martha Maryman ... Woman (uncredited)
Stanley McKay ... Reporter (uncredited)
Joe J. Merrill ... Digger (uncredited)
Paul D. Merrill ... Federber Boy (uncredited)
Lee Miller ... Mover (uncredited)
Ralph Moody ... Kusac - Miner (uncredited)
Bert Moorhouse ... Josh Morgan (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Customer at Minosa's (uncredited)
Frank Andrew Parker ... Reporter (uncredited)
Martin Pendleton ... Barker (uncredited)
William N. Peters ... Photographer (uncredited)
Jack Roberts ... Newspaperman (uncredited)
Bill Sheehan ... Man (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Reporter (uncredited)
John 'Bub' Sweeney ... Reporter (uncredited)

Directed by
Billy Wilder 
 
Writing credits
Billy Wilder (written by) &
Lesser Samuels (written by) &
Walter Newman (written by)

Victor Desny  story (uncredited)

Produced by
William Schorr .... associate producer
Billy Wilder .... producer
 
Original Music by
Hugo Friedhofer 
 
Cinematography by
Charles Lang  (as Charles B. Lang Jr.)
 
Film Editing by
Arthur P. Schmidt  (as Arthur Schmidt)
 
Casting by
Bert McKay (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
A. Earl Hedrick  (as Earl Hedrick)
Hal Pereira 
 
Set Decoration by
Sam Comer 
Ray Moyer 
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head 
 
Makeup Department
Wally Westmore .... makeup supervisor
Hal Lierley .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Richard Blaydon .... assistant production manager (uncredited)
Hugh Brown .... production manager (uncredited)
Don Robb .... assistant unit production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Charles C. Coleman .... assistant director (as C.C. Coleman)
Francisco Day .... assistant director (uncredited)
Al Mann .... assistant director (uncredited)
Jason Rosenberger .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Maurice Goodman .... set dresser (uncredited)
Cline Jones .... prop maker (uncredited)
Martin Pendleton .... set dresser (uncredited)
Tom Plews .... props (uncredited)
Harold Worthington .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Gene Garvin .... sound recordist
Harold Lewis .... sound recordist
Bob Carr .... sound (uncredited)
A.D. Cook .... cableman (uncredited)
John Cope .... sound (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Farciot Edouart .... process photography
Irmin Roberts .... transparency camera (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Guy Bennett .... camera operator (uncredited)
Frank Carroll .... grip (uncredited)
William Collins .... grip (uncredited)
Don English .... still photographer (uncredited)
Cliff Hartley .... grip (uncredited)
Al Lipsey .... grip (uncredited)
Kenneth Meade .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jess Miller .... electrician (uncredited)
William Rand .... camera operator (uncredited)
Dominic Seminerio .... grip (uncredited)
George Sherman .... grip (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
William Poole .... location casting (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Ed Fitzharris .... wardrobe (uncredited)
Hazel Hegarty .... wardrobe (uncredited)
 
Editorial Department
Doane Harrison .... supervising editor
 
Music Department
Sidney Cutner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Van Cleave .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Francis J. Abdo .... medical technical advisor (uncredited)
Henry Giles .... technical advisor: teletype (uncredited)
Lupe Hall .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Harry Hogan .... dialogue director (uncredited)
Sally Hunt .... technical advisor: teletype (uncredited)
Irene Martin .... stand-in (uncredited)
Kenny Miner .... auditor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Big Carnival" - USA (reissue title)
See more »
Runtime:
111 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Finland:K-16 | Iceland:L | UK:A (1951) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #14772) | USA:TV-14 (TV rating) | West Germany:16
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
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 »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Tatum and Boot are talking in the Minosa's back room, the amount of alcohol Tatum pours in his glass changes.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Charles Tatum:Hey. Pull up at the corner.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Billy Wilder Speaks (2006) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Hut-Sut SongSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Is "Ace in the Hole" based on a book?
How does the movie end?
See more »
27 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
The plot is based on real events, 26 April 2007
Author: castolon from Carlsbad, NM

The movie very closely parallels the real events of January 30 to February 16, 1925 in terms of the general story line. There are some significant differences concerning the actions of the characters.

Floyd Collins, a cave explorer working alone (not a real good idea), was trapped in Sand Cave KY, near Mammoth Cave. He was not looking for treasure, but for a new cave suitable for commercializing to produce income in an economically depressed region...and this was before the Depression occurred.

He became trapped on the way out of the cave by a 27 lb. rock which rolled onto his leg in a narrow crawlway. The configuration was such that it could not be moved enough to get his foot past.

When he failed to return home, the family went searching and quickly found him only 150' inside the cave.

A huge rescue effort was mounted and a cub reporter, Skeets Miller, from Louisville KY showed up to cover the story. It became one of the three most widely broadcast events of the time. Besides the extensive newspaper coverage, the relatively new medium of commercial radio riveted listeners with hourly accounts. It quickly became the first media circus ever seen.

Because of the print and radio coverage people began flocking to the site. A carnival atmosphere did indeed spring up around the cave. The state police and National Guard were called out by the governor to control the chaos and the more than 20,000 onlookers. The similarity between the real event and the movie on this account are likely nearly identical.

As in the movie, a decision was made to drill a shaft and, also as in the movie, the rock was fairly unstable and prone to collapse from the pounding of the cable tool drilling rig. The longer the effort went on, the more unstable the cave passage became.

Unlike Kirk Douglas' character in the movie, Skeets Miller served a most honorable role. Due to his small build he became one of very few persons able, and eventually the only one willing, to enter in an attempt to deliver food and water to Collins. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. Also unlike the movie, there was no manipulation of the event to delay the rescue, but there was considerable disagreement over how to best do it. Area coal miners made the initial attempts and the event concluded with the above-mentioned shaft.

Collins was presumed to have died 3 days before rescuers reached him. Because the conditions were so unstable, the body was left in the cave. The family was able to remove him about 80 days afterward for a proper burial. Later, his glass-topped casket was returned to the now-commercial cave as a tourist attraction. It was removed once again, and finally, in 1989.

In 1982, a definitive account of the event was published in the book 'Trapped!'. A most informative read.

In a take-off of the 'Free Tibet' bumper stickers, vehicles are occasionally seen with a 'Free Floyd Collins' sticker.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Message Boards

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Can't accept the major plot point theclockticks
How does Leo take a shhh... vincent-pane
Subtle send-up to Double Indemnity fletch37
what's the purpose of the mother's character? Diego_rjc
Albuquerque Killingforcompany
Pacific All-Risk: From Los Angeles to Los Alamos! skyeaglesmith
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