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In 1988, Oscar-winning German filmmaker Volker Schlondorff ("The Tin Drum") sat down with legendary director Billy Wilder at his office in Beverly Hills, California and turned on his camera for a series of filmed interviews. The conversation went on for two weeks. The results were aired on German TV in 1992 and debuted on U.S. television when it was shown on Turner Classic Movies in 2006. We are presented with a generous smattering of film clips, rare photographs and artwork, but mostly Wilder just sits in his office and talks with the off screen Schlondorff, moving easily between English and German. Clips shown include: "Double Indemnity," "The Lost Weekend," "A Foreign Affair," "Sunset Blvd.," "Ace in the Hole." "Stalag 17," "Sabrina," "Witness for the Prosecution," "Some Like It Hot," and "The Apartment." Wilder discusses all these films, and the actors in them as well. Mostly, Wilder offers his philosophy of movie making from one of its undisputed masters. As one might expect from...Written by
While interesting to watch and listen to a master, the quality of the film itself leaves a lot to be desired.
Billy Wilder was a genius when it came to writing and directing films. There's no doubt about that and listening to him reminisce makes this documentary worth seeing--particularly for film buffs like myself. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him talking with Volker Schlöndorff ("The Tin Drum"). However, from a technical point of view, the film really sucks as well. Let me explain. There are a could serious problems which could have and should have been dealt with--especially since the film was made by a director about a director. The conversation often lacks a systematic focus. Often, the chronology of what they are talking about is all mixed up and you'd think there'd be some sense of cohesion to the conversation in the film. There isn't...and it is odd. The total effect is like overhearing a couple guys talking but only catching a bit here and there.
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