8.2/10
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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

The studio constructed a replica cliff dwelling at a cost of $30,000. The set was located behind the Lookout Point Trading Post on U.S. Route 66, west of Gallup, New Mexico. After filming was completed, the set was left intact and the owner of the trading post used it to draw tourists to his store. See more »

Goofs

When Tatum and Boot are talking in the Minosa's back room, the amount of alcohol Tatum pours in his glass changes. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in St. Trinian's (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Billy Wilder should not call this powerful whiff of the journalism world "The runt" of his cinematic litter!
24 November 1998 | by boris-26See all my reviews

Billy Wilder's first commercial failure, but one of his best films, almost up there with "Sunset Blvd." Ambitious reporter Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) finds out a man is trapped in a collapsed mine. By spewing out bogus engineering, he manages the rescue of the poor man to become more complicated, and time consuming then needed. Meanwhile, it becomes an amazing news item, something that makes Tatum the best known reporter in the country. However, everybody's luck runs out at the end. Perhaps the cause of failure of this film is that there are no sympathetic characters here. Douglas plays a total creep, the trapped man's wife is a floozy "I'm not going to pray for him! Praying ruins my nylons!" in the film. Even the trapped man is somebody who was poking around Indian graves. The screenplay, and the lead performances are top class. The extensive location photography, and somewhat documentary look of the film makes the film feel more modern than most 1951 films. Billy Wilder calls this film "the runt of his litter" Don't be so harsh, Billy, it's an excellent picture!


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