Today we cinematically travel all the way to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Billy Wilder’s Ace In The Hole (1951) is such a long trip that we end right back up at some podunk provincial newspaper taken over by a “reporter” who freely admits he lies all the time, but says he’s never stupid enough to lie to a man who “wears both a belt AND suspenders.” Trust me, he lies to such a man, too.
In other words, our journey is a 64 year circle back home and is just as great a statement/indictment today of the news business, news “gathering,” Albuquerque and its provincial, so-called newspaper as ever. This film should be required viewing before one is granted citizenship to ‘Burque and the USA. It might be the most cynical film this movie-lover has ever seen, and, as such, is the perfect vehicle to metaphorically explain how a problem is falsely created (“man in hole/public education is horrible”), and the lengths some will go to keep that man/kids falsely stuck “in the hole,” if it means selling just one more newspaper, whether by endlessly defending a fallacious argument or even killing off the man/kids involved in the process.
“Ace In The Hole” is beautifully accurate in painfully presenting what PARCC and Standard Testing Gone Wild (STGW) is all about and is thus an essential in our Film Festival lineup. Now on to Kirk Douglas, who plays the devil better than anybody ever has. Ever.