Films and Showtimes

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Past Films

Ace in the Hole (1951)

  • Starring: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Porter Hall, Porter Hall, Richard Benedict
  • Director: Billy Wilder
  • Genre(s): Drama, Film-Noir
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Running Time: 111 min.

This new quarterly series showcases the “essential” films everyone should see on the big screen. For each month-long program, we’ll screen five films organized by one of the following themes: directors, actors, genres, and eras/movements.

Essential tickets are $9 for Adults, $8 for Students/Seniors and Members get in Free!

Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole is one of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker. Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who washes up in dead-end Albuquerque, happens upon the scoop of a lifetime, and will do anything to keep getting the lurid headlines. Wilder’s follow-up to Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé of the American media’s appetite for sensation that has gotten only more relevant with time. [Criterion]

Billy Wilder’s 1951 portrait of a corrupt media circus in which a down-on-his-luck NYC reporter (Douglas) takes a job with a small-town paper that provides him with no challenges until he exploits the story of a man trapped in a mine. (Two Boots Pioneer Theater)

"It's dark, funny, ferocious, and vintage Wilder all the way."
- David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"Ace in the Hole is a revelation, as timely now as when it was made."
- Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle
"A lurid pulp indictment of exploitation, opportunism, doctored intelligence, torture for profit, insatiable greed, and shady journalism."
- Nathan Lee, Village Voice
"This 1951 film, about a cynical reporter who seizes on the plight of a man trapped in a mine shaft to promote his career, is cold, lurid, and fascinating, propelled by the same combination of moral outrage and sneaky admiration."
- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"A searing example of writer-director Billy Wilder at his most brilliantly misanthropic. An uncompromising portrait of human nature at its worst, the film was so far ahead of its time in its depiction of a media circus and the public's appetite for tragedy that it was a commercial disaster when first released, but now stands as one of the great American films of the 1950s."
- TV Guide Magazine

Showtimes