Saturday, November 24, 2012

232. The Big Carnival

The Big Carnival
Also called Ace In the Hole which is what it is under Netflix
Directed by Billy Wilder

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!  Hope everyone at a great time or at least, um, survived.

I popped this movie to watch while I unpacked from my trip.  I opened The Book and realized I had seen the next five films on the list.  This is going to be one of those times that I write for hours to catch up, partly due to my obsessiveness and party due to the fact that I have no life.

All right, this movie centers on Kirk Douglas, a very unethical journalist, who takes advantage of a man trapped in a mine shaft for the media coverage.  Laughs ensue.  Just kidding, it is really quite serious.

So the message of the movie is timeless.  The media is cruel in its exploitation of tragedy and we are just as bad for eating it up.  The extreme examples are, of course, things like Princess Di's death but it works on a much smaller, local level as well.  Like the main character says, good news is no news.

Of course, nowadays the message isn't as fresh as it might have been in 1951.  Still, it is extremely relevant.  It is interesting to watch the public in this film and cringe, but then realize that you might have the exact same reaction.

We get a great performance by Kirk Douglas, who I always seem to underestimate, with reasonably good performances from the supporting cast.  Overall a great and underrated film.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Huge box office flop upon its release.

Wilder was sued for copyright infringement and the case went all the way to the California Supreme Court where he lost.


  1. I love the quote about a million dead being statistics, but a single man trapped is a tragedy. How true this is.

    1. So weird I was just talking about that quote.