Director Billy Wilder salutes his idol, Ernst Lubitsch, with this comedy about a middle-aged playboy fascinated by the daughter of a private detective who has been hired to entrap him with the wife of a client.
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.
Fred, George, Doug and Howie are quickly reaching middle-age. Three of them are married, only Fred is still a bachelor. They want something different than their ordinary marriages, children... See full summary »
Originally made with a German soundtrack for screening in occupied Germany and Austria, this film was the first documentary to show what the Allies found when they liberated the Nazi ... See full summary »
Dino, the charming and lecherous Las Vegas singer, stops for gas on his way to Hollywood in Climax, Nevada. The oily gas station attendant is Barney Millsap, a would-be lyricist who writes pop songs with Orville Spooner, the local piano teacher. By disabling Dino's car, Barney contrives a scheme to have Dino sing one of their songs on an upcoming TV special. To entertain Dino, Barney contacts the village tart, Polly, employing her to pretend to be Orville's wife, Zelda, for a night. She doesn't like Dino, but does love being Orville's surrogate wife. Dino goes to a bar, where he meets the real Zelda, and they spend the night together while Polly spends it with Orville. Written by
Crooner Dino is played by Dean Martin, in a role where he essentially is playing himself. Dino is asked at one point in the film what he thinks of the new rock group The Beatles, and he replies in a derogatory manner, with the script imitating Martin's feelings about the band in real life. Dino is then told that they are the new sound and that Dino's sound is obsolete. Ironically, and in reality, soon after the filming of this movie began, Martin recorded his soon-to-be signature song, "Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime," which knocked the Beatles' "A Hard Days' Night" single from the Billboard #1 spot in August 1964, one month after filming wrapped on this movie. Martin therefore became the first easy-listening performer to achieve a #1 Billboard single after the Beatles arrived in America, and did this by usurping the Beatles themselves from the top chart position. See more »
After Orville's wife digs under his sweatshirt for a pen while Johnny is playing the piano, the sound of the piano distorts as if the sound tape slowed down for a second. See more »
This is a low and deeply cynical comedy even by Billy Wilder's standards. It's about the American Dream and says a man would sell his wife to achieve it. Ray Walston, (brilliantly cast; nobody played sharper or more venal in comedy than he did - remember, he once even played the devil?), is the small-town songwriter who tries to sell some of his songs to a visiting superstar called Dino, (Dean Martin, parodying himself as a womanizing, hard-drinking piece of scum). The way he does it is to pass his wife off as a piece of bait for Martin to sleep with and hopefully take his songs. But being the all-American hypocrite that he is, he can't bring himself to use his real wife so he packs her off to a motel and hires the local floozie Polly the Pistol (Kim Novak) to take her place.
The film is very funny in the way it undermines our conventional sense of morality. It's like a French Farce full of dirty American gags and in some ways is one of Wilder's best (though under-valued) films. The only 'nice' character in the whole picture is Polly and Novak brings to the part the same kind of touching naiveté we associate with Monroe. (It's a very Monroe-like performance). And this is probably the best acting Novak has done outside of "Vertigo" and possibly "Picnic"; (her Polly is like an older, more sullied version of the character she played in "Picnic"). A lot of Americans found this film deeply offensive, (it was a bigger success in Europe), and it was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency.
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