A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to rekindle 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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Photos

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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:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A canvas "desert water bag" hangs on the front grille of the car that Tatum and Herbie drive. Such bags, which cool water by evaporation, were common in desert travel in the days before coolers became widely available, and the water was used both for drinking and for adding to an overheated auto radiator. See more »

Goofs

Rattlesnakes will not eat bubble gum, in or out of the wrapper. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charles Tatum: Hey. Pull up at the corner.
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Soundtracks

The Hut-Sut Song
(uncredited)
Written by Leo Killion, Ted McMichael and Jack Owens
Sung by Richard Benedict and Kirk Douglas
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User Reviews

A brilliant movie that lingers in the mind
27 March 2004 | by dbtuson-1See all my reviews

Of the many movies I viewed in the early 50's, so many ,like now, were here today, forgotten tomorrow. However some movies that became memorable and that were able to make a dramatic impact on this young guy include, Duel in the Sun and Gone with the Wind. Strangely enough, Ace in the Hole is the most memorable of all movies viewed. It is one that invades the mind and leaves one sad.

Few films I remember as vividly as this dark movie, the images linger to haunt me still. 'Why?' one might ask 'would a sombre movie like this made over 50 years ago remain so memorable, when so many others have vanished. Was it the surreal inhumanity of the plot, the repugnant newsman devoid of ethics, the exploitation of the trapped victim, the purposeful prolonging of the victim's entrapment to create a media frenzy, the ultimate commercial creation of an 'event' style attraction complete with a circus like atmosphere surrounding the cave while the victim remained entrapped and close to death.'

Supposedly based on a real incident, it's a tough movie to watch and more so if one is prepared to accept the premise that such inhumanity displayed in the movie has an element of truth.

I echo the desires of others to have the availability of this movie on VHS or DVD. In the interim my memory will continue to keep the images intact. See it if you can.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Latin

Release Date:

4 July 1951 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Human Interest Story See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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