Director Billy Wilder is interviewed by German critic Hellmut Karasek and director Volker Schlöndorff about his movies.
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Billy Wilder Speaks (TV Movie 2006)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Billy Wilder discusses his life and films in interviews filmed by Volker Schlondorff over two weeks in 1988.

Directors: Gisela Grischow, Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: Jean Arthur, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney
Fedora (1978)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Down-on-his-luck Hollywood producer Barry 'Dutch' Detweiler attempts to lure Fedora, a famous but reclusive film actress, out of retirement.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Marthe Keller, Hildegard Knef
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Susan Sarandon
Buddy Buddy (1981)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Paula Prentiss
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jealous piano teacher Orville Spooner sends his beautiful wife, Zelda, away for the night while he tries to sell a song to famous nightclub singer Dino, who is stranded in town.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Dean Martin, Kim Novak, Ray Walston
Avanti! (1972)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A successful businessman goes to Italy to arrange for the return of his tycoon-father's body only to discover dad died with his mistress of long standing.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills, Clive Revill
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

French film critic Michel Ciment interviews Billy Wilder about his life and film-making.

Directors: Annie Tresgot, Michel Ciment
Stars: Billy Wilder, Michel Ciment, Jack Lemmon
The Tin Drum (1979)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Danzig in the 1920s/1930s. Oskar Matzerath, son of a local dealer, is a most unusual boy. Equipped with full intellect right from his birth he decides at his third birthday not to grow up ... See full summary »

Director: Volker Schlöndorff
Stars: David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

In West Berlin during the Cold War, a Coca-Cola executive is given the task of taking care of his boss' socialite daughter.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: James Cagney, Horst Buchholz, Pamela Tiffin
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Director Billy Wilder is interviewed by German critic Hellmut Karasek and director Volker Schlöndorff about his movies.

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A little lost in the translation
23 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was recently broadcast on Turner Classic Movies under the title "Billy Wilder Speaks." The German title actually translates into "Billy Wilder, What Have You Done (or Made)?" I'm assuming 98% of this documentary is originally in German - 98% because Wilder sometimes mixes German and English. However, now the beginning narration is in English and there are subtitles.

I don't believe it's possible to do a bad retrospective on Wilder, and certainly it's impossible to have a bad documentary when this witty, intelligent director is doing the talking. The problem with this film is that something got lost in the translation. The subtitles are slapped on and a little hard to read, and the documentary itself is hard to follow at times. For example, a film clip is shown and when the camera comes back to Wilder, he tells a story, and we're not sure who he's talking about. This happens several times throughout. Though Wilder says "he," the subtitle should actually have the name.

The director gives impressions and anecdotes about some of the actors with whom he worked: Shirley MacLaine, Gary Cooper, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Swanson and Marilyn Monroe. He also talks in some depth about a few of his films, most notably "Some Like It Hot," "Stalag 17," and "Double Indemnity." Quite fascinating is the story of showing his documentary about concentration camps, "Death Mills" to Germans.

Billy Wilder, 83 at the time of this documentary, was a brilliant director with a unique point of view who left us a legacy of some of the best films of all time. "Billy Wilder Speaks" makes you want more.


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