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Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man': Billy Wilder (1982)

Portrait d'un homme 'à 60% parfait': Billy Wilder (original title)
French film critic Michel Ciment interviews Billy Wilder about his life and film-making.

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Michel Ciment ...
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I.A.L. Diamond ...
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French film critic Michel Ciment interviews Billy Wilder about his life and film-making.

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October 1982 (USA)  »

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Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man': Billy Wilder  »

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References Witness for the Prosecution (1957) See more »

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Looking Back at Wilder
15 July 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A French film company interviews veteran Austrian-American director Billy Wilder in 1980, who by this point was in his mid-70s.

Another reviewer points out that "there didn't seem to be a lot of direction by the interviewer and much of it was simply a stream of consciousness discussion by Wilder." Indeed, he answers the phone, talks about a bird cage and more or less just perambulates while the camera rolls.

There are a few interviews with Wilder's actor friends, but this primarily means just Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau, causing the perspective to be rather limited. Of course, just an hour of Wilder talking about his career is interesting in itself, but if you are going to bring in others, why not bring in many more, flesh it out, even add a few minutes to the running time? It is nice to cover a bit of Wilder's influences, especially his early work with Ernst Lubitsch (a man who needs to be better known by modern audiences). And we get a retelling of the "Seven Year Itch" skirt story, which has become something of legend.


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