8.2/10
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167 user 143 critic

Ace in the Hole (1951)

Not Rated | | Drama , Film-Noir | 4 July 1951 (USA)
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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.

Director:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Lewis Martin ... McCardle
John Berkes ... Papa Minosa
Frances Dominguez Frances Dominguez ... Mama Minosa
Gene Evans ... Deputy Sheriff
Frank Jaquet ... Sam Smollett
Harry Harvey ... Dr. Hilton
Bob Bumpas Bob Bumpas ... Radio Announcer
Geraldine Hall Geraldine Hall ... Nellie Federber
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

4 July 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Carnival See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,969,893
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Indian copy boy in the newspaper office (uncredited) is Iron Eyes Cody...an American actor of Sicilian heritage who portrayed Native Americans in Hollywood films. He is perhaps best known as the Indian shedding a tear over litter in the "Keep America Beautiful" TV ad campaign of the early 70's. See more »

Goofs

Lorraine stabbed Chuck with her right hand, meaning the wound should be on his left side. However, it is on his right side. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charles Tatum: Hey. Pull up at the corner.
See more »

Connections

References Citizen Kane (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

We're Coming, Leo
(uncredited)
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Performed by unidentified vocalist and band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A great film
7 January 2006 | by zinksterSee all my reviews

One of Billy Wilder's great movies, with a superb acting job by Kirk Douglas as the cynical, glory-seeking and even desperate reporter whose only goal is get back in the limelight by regaining his former big-city news desk job.

The idea of such a newspaper reporter manipulating events to stretch out a story at the expense of and disregard for the victim still seems nearly inhuman, but Douglas' performance makes it instantly believable. The story scenario in which locals, then passers-by and finally distant tourists gravitate to and then make a festival or circus out of the event (the film was also released under the title "The Big Carnival") is supported by the real events on which the story was most likely based: the West VA mine disaster in 1925 that trapped miner Floyd Collins and was reported for 17 days, much as in the film, by local newspaperman Skeets Miller, who crawled into the mineshaft for face-to-face interviews with the trapped and doomed Collins.

This movie fits nicely into the Film Noir genre, although it takes place largely under the hot, harsh glare of the Arizona sun, highlighting the sweat and grime visible on the characters' skin and creating a visual metaphor for the sorry state of their souls. I wonder if Henri-Georges Clouzot saw this film before he began filming "The Wages of Fear," because the visually pervasive atmosphere of sweat and filth and opportunism are equally present in both.


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