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Ace in the Hole (1951)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 4 July 1951 (USA)
Trailer
2:23 | Trailer
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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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

This film's utter and unrelenting cynicism so repulsed 1951 movie audiences that it lost Paramount a fortune. Writer/director Billy Wilder later admitted that it had a negative impact on his career...while also citing it as one of the best films he ever made. 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in One Rogue Reporter (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

We're Coming, Leo
(uncredited)
Written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Performed by Bill Ramsey and the Rythem Wranglers
See more »

User Reviews

 
"Go home! The carnival is over."
5 May 1999 | by PearseySee all my reviews

This is a movie I have loved since the first time I saw it as a child. Kirk Douglas plays the lead role in "The Big Carnival", or "Ace in the Hole" as it was originally titled. As down and out former ace newspaper reporter Chuck Tatum, he finds himself broke in the southwest and manages to talk himself into a reporting job with a small town newspaper. He and a cub photographer are sent to cover a snake hunt and on the way they come across a more interesting story. A man hunting Navaho artifacts got caught in a cave in.

Tatum, after visiting the man, Leo Minoso in the cave, has visions of Floyd Collins and a Pulitzer prize dancing in his head. Through blackmail and manipulation of the story, Tatum sells his soul and his journalistic ethics in his quest for a chance at the big time again.

This movie was ahead of it's time in estimating how low the media would go to sell a story. Tatum leads the carnival of onlookers, vendors and other reporters wanting a piece of the story until the inevitable tragic ending occurs. He realizes too late how he has turned a simple event into a tragedy and become part of the story instead of a reporter. Kirk Douglas turns in a powerful performance.


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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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