Ace in the Hole is a unique noir from the legendary Billy Wilder starring Kirk Douglas that takes no holds barred against the media’s mentality of getting a scoop.
In the film, Chuck Tatum (Douglas) travels from New York to New Mexico as his career is faltering. He gets the story of a lifetime one day when he learns of a man trapped in a cave collapse. Tatum manipulates the story, which gains huge nationwide interest, and controls the media circus for profit until Tatum’s luck runs out.
I will admit that it took me quite a long time to warm up to Ace in the Hole, which disappointed me. I’m a huge fan of Wilder’s work, having already reviewed Some Like it Hot and The Seven Year Itch this year, I am also a fan of his darker films. It’s not to say Ace in the Hole is a bad film, it’s not at all but it is perhaps too slow to gain momentum. I also found Kirk Douglas to simply be wrong for the role of Chuck Tatum, he simply isn’t slimy enough.
Regardless of my initial hesitations with Ace in the Hole, the second half of the film had a hold on me. We can guess that things are not going to end well for Tatum, but watching the events unfold is much like a train wreck. Ace in the Hole is certainly something I could watch again at some point, but it is not at the top of any of my ‘favorites’ lists.
I give it 4 mean looking Kirk Douglas’ out of 5.