Maybe "nobody's perfect", as one character in this masterpiece suggests. But some movies are perfect, and Some Like It Hot is one of them. In Chicago, during the Prohibition era, two skirt-chasing musicians, Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon), inadvertently witness the St Valentine's Day Massacre. In order to escape the wrath of gangland chief Spats Colombo (George Raft), the boys, in drag, join an all-woman band headed for Florida. They vie for the attention of the lead singer, Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), a much-disappointed songbird who warbles "I'm Through with Love" but remains vulnerable to yet another unreliable saxophone player. (When Curtis courts her without his dress, he adopts the voice of Cary Grant--a spot-on impersonation.) The script by director Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond is beautifully measured; everything works, like a flawless clock. Aspiring screenwriters would be well advised to throw away the how-to books and simply study this film. The bulk of the slapstick is handled by an unhinged Lemmon and the razor-sharp Joe E. Brown, who plays a horny retiree smitten by Jerry's feminine charms. For all the gags, the film is also wonderfully romantic, as Wilder indulges in just the right amounts of moonlight and the lilting melody of "Park Avenue Fantasy". Some Like It Hot is so delightfully fizzy, it's hard to believe the shooting of the film was a headache, with an unhappy Monroe on her worst behaviour. The results, however, are sublime. --Robert Horton
Box-set collection of five of Audrey Hepburn's most famous films. Roman Holiday (1953) In her Hollywood debut, Hepburn won an Academy Award as Princess Anne, the bored royal who absconds from her duties and meets up with Gregory Peck's American ex-pat journalist. Sabrina Fair (1954) Billy Wilder directs her as the shy daughter of a wealthy family's chauffeur, who returns from two years in Paris as a sophisticated young woman. Funny Face (1957) The musical romanti...
Marilyn Monroe forever stands alone as Hollywood's quintessential icon of sex appeal and timeless allure. Her breathy voice, voluptuous figure and wide-ranging talents catapulted her to superstardom, where she remains as legendary today as ever. Immortalized here in this must-own collection are four of her best and most popular films, showcase Marilyn's flawless beauty and captivating performances as they're meant to be seen. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell co-star as showgirls who set a course for love and laughter on board a luxury liner sailing to France.How To Marry A Millionaire:Marilyn, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall play three Manhattan models who concoct a wild scheme to meet the men of their dreams.The Seven Year Itch:Marilyn plays a seductive starlet who tests the wedding vows of a married man when she moves into the apartment above him.Some Like It Hot:Marilyn is the lead singer of an all-girl band joined by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, who are posing as women to hide from the mob.
More than half a century after its release in 1950, Sunset Boulevard is still the most pungently unflattering portrait of Hollywood ever committed to celluloid. Billy Wilder, unequalled at combining a literate, sulphurous script with taut direction, hits his target relentlessly. The humour--and the film is rich in this, Wilder's most abundant commodity--is black indeed. Sunset Boulevard is viciously and endlessly clever. William Holden's opportunistic scriptwriter Joe Gillis, whose sellout proves fatal, is from the top drawer of film noir. Gloria Swanson's monstrously deluded Norma Desmond, the benchmark for washed-up divas, transcends parody. And her literal descent down the staircase to madness is one of the all-time great silver-screen moments. Sunset Boulevard isn't without pathos, most notably in Erich von Stroheim's protective butler who wants only to shield his mistress from the stark truths that are massing against her. But its view of human beings at work in a ruthlessly cannibalistic industry is bleak indeed. Nobody, not even Nancy Olson's sparkily ambitious writer Betty Schaefer, is untainted. And neither are we, "those wonderful people out there in the dark". Norma might be ready for her close-up, but it's really Hollywood that's in the frame. No wonder Wilder incurred the charge of treachery from his peers. It's cinematic perfection. On the DVD: Sunset Boulevard lends itself effortlessly to a collector's edition of this quality. The film itself is presented in full-frame aspect ratio from an excellent print and the quality of the mono soundtrack is faultless: the silver screen comes to life in your living room. The extras are superb, including a commentary from film historian Ed Sikov and a making-of documentary which includes the memories of Nancy Olson. Interactive features such as the Hollywood location map add to the fun. --Piers Ford
Romance at its most anti-romantic--that is the Billy Wilder stamp of genius, and this Best Picture Academy Award winner from 1960 is no exception. Set in a decidedly unsavoury world of corporate climbing and philandering, the great filmmaker's trenchant, witty satire-melodrama takes the office politics of a corporation and plays them out in the apartment of lonely clerk CC Baxter (Jack Lemmon). By lending out his digs to the higher-ups for nightly extramarital flings with their secretaries, Baxter has managed to ascend the business ladder faster than even he imagined. The story turns even uglier, though, when Baxter's crush on the building's melancholy elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine) runs up against her long-standing affair with the big boss (a superbly smarmy Fred MacMurray). The situation comes to a head when she tries to commit suicide in Baxter's apartment. Not the happiest or cleanest of scenarios, and one that earned the famously caustic and cynically humoured Wilder his share of outraged responses, but looking at it now, it is a funny, startlingly clear-eyed vision of urban emptiness and is unfailingly understanding of the crazy decisions our hearts sometimes make. Lemmon and MacLaine are ideally matched and while everyone cites Wilder's Some Like It Hot closing line "Nobody's perfect" as his best, MacLaine's no-nonsense final words--"Shut up and deal"--are every bit as memorable. Wilder won three Oscars for The Apartment, for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay (cowritten with long-time collaborator I A L Diamond). --Robert Abele
In 1960, following the success of their collaboration on Some Like it Hot, director Billy Wilder (Ace in the Hole, Sunset Boulevard) reteamed with actor Jack Lemmon (Grumpy Old Men) for what many consider the pinnacle of their respective careers: The Apartment. C.C. Bud Baxter (Lemmon) is a lowly Manhattan office drone with a lucrative sideline in renting out his apartment to adulterous company bosses and their mistresses. When Bud enters into a similar arrangement the firm s personnel director, J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray, The Caine Mutiny), his career prospects begin to look up... and up. But when he discovers that Sheldrake s mistress is Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine, Irma la Douce), the girl of his dreams, he finds himself forced to choose between his career and the woman he loves... Winner of five Academy AwardsÂ®, including Best Picture, The Apartment features a wealth of Hollywood s finest talent on both sides of the camera at the top of their game. By turns cynical, heart-warming and hilarious, Wilder s masterpiece now shines like never before in this all-new, 4K-restored edition from Arrow Films. SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS: Brand new 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative produced by Arrow Films exclusive for this release Original uncompressed PCM mono audio Optional 5.1 remix in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing Audio commentary with film producer and historian Bruce Block The Key to the Apartment, a new appreciation of the film by film historian Philip Kemp Select scene commentary by Philip Kemp The Flawed Couple, a new video essay by filmmaker David Cairns on the collaborations between Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon A Letter to Castro, a new interview with actress Hope Holiday The Writer Speaks: Billy Wilder, an archival interview from the Writers Guild of America s Oral Histories series Inside the Apartment, a half-hour making-of featurette from 2007 including interviews with Shirley MacLaine, executive producer Walter Mirisch, and others Magic Time: The Art of Jack Lemmon, an archive profile of the actor from 2007 Theatrical trailer Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Ignatius Fitzpatrick
Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton star in this brilliantly made courtroom drama (Film Daily) that left audiences reeling from its surprise twists and shocking climax. Directed by Billy Wilder, scripted by Wilder and Harry Kurnitz, and based on Agatha Christie's hit London play, this splendid, six-time Oscar-nominated classic crackles with emotional electricity (The New York Times) and continues to keep movie lovers riveted until the final, mesmerizing frame. When a wealthy widow is found murdered, her married suitor, Leonard Vole (Power), is accused of the crime. Vole's only hope for acquittal is the testimony of his wife (Dietrich)...but his airtight alibi shatters when she reveals some shocking secrets of her own!
"I'm not a drinker--I'm a drunk." These words, and the serious message behind them, were still potent enough in 1945 to shock audiences flocking to The Lost Weekend. The speaker is Don Birnam (Ray Milland), a handsome, talented, articulate alcoholic. The writing team of producer Charles Brackett and director Billy Wilder pull no punches in their depiction of Birnam's massive weekend bender, a tailspin that finds him reeling from his favorite watering hole to Bellevue Hospital. Location shooting in New York helps the street-level atmosphere, especially a sequence in which Birnam, a budding writer, tries to hock his typewriter for booze money. He desperately staggers past shuttered storefronts--it's Yom Kippur, and the pawnshops are closed. Milland, previously known as a lightweight leading man (he'd starred in Wilder's hilarious The Major and the Minor three years earlier), burrows convincingly under the skin of the character, whether waxing poetic about the escape of drinking or screaming his lungs out in the D.T.'s sequence. Wilder, having just made the ultra-noir Double Indemnity, brought a new kind of frankness and darkness to Hollywood's treatment of a social problem. At first the film may have seemed too bold; Paramount Pictures nearly killed the release of the picture after it tested poorly with preview audiences. But once in release, The Lost Weekend became a substantial hit, and won four Oscars: for picture, director, screenplay, and actor. --Robert Horton
When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.
Avanti: In this hilarious lighthearted comedy from acclaimed writer/director Billy Wilder and screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond (The Apartment) a wealthy American discovers romance and the meaning of avanit while in Italy. American businessman Wendell Armbruster (Lemmon) is summoned to Italy after a car accident claims the lives of his father and his father's secret mistress! And when the mistress' daughter (Juliet Mills) also arrives - and the bodies of both of their parents disappear - the two instant foes are brought together in a baffling mystery... and an affair of the heart! Irma La Douce: Meet Nestor (Jack Lemmon) a young man with a very complicated love life. Employed as business manager to Irma La Douce (Shirley MacLaine) - a proud and profitable lady of the streets - the poor guy had gone and fallen in love with her! So how do you keep a popular Parisiennne like Irma faithful? Simple. Disguise yourself as an elderly English Lord who immediately becomes Irma's sole client and means of support! But what's a jealous manager to do when the illustrious Irma claims that the man she's really in love with is not the smitten Nestor but the dotty old lord himself? Kiss Me Stupid: When the world-renowned singer ""Dino"" (Martin in a hilarious self-parody) passes through Climax Nevada he doesn't count on meeting two would-be songwriters with a plan to trap him there and serenade him with their songs. But then again they weren't counting on Dino's insatiable appetite... for wine and women! And when one of the men learns that his own wife was once president of Dino's fan club he hires a replacement wife (Kim Novak) to help lure the carousing star into a song-buying mood! One Two Three: C.R. MacNamara (Cagney) a top-ranking executive stationed in West Berlin is charged with the care of his boss' visiting daughter. But when he learns that she's gone and married a fierce young communist - and that his boss will be arriving in town in 24 hours - Mac must transform the unwilling beatnik into a suitable son-in-law or risk losing his chance for advancement! Before you can say ""one two three "" his plans have spun out of control and into an international incident that could infuriate the Russians the Germans and worst of all his own suspicious wife (Arlene Francis)! Some Like It Hot: Marilyn Monroe Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon star in Some Like It Hot hailed by the American Film Institute as the funniest American movie of all time. When two Chicago musicians accidentally witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre they trade in their union suits for flapper frocks and hightail it down to Florida as the newest members of an all-girl jazz band.
The complete obscurity of Avanti is a cinematic injustice that needs to be rectified. Jack Lemmon and director Billy Wilder made their share of hits together (Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, for starters), but this wry, melancholy comedy was completely out of touch with its time (which recalls a Wilder one-liner from the 1970s: "Who the hell would want to be in touch with these times?"). It may have flopped badly in 1972, but it wears well in retrospect. Lemmon plays a jerk American businessman called to Italy to pick up the body of his father, who died while enjoying a secret (and, it turns out, annual) liaison with a mistress. With the help of a delightful Englishwoman (Juliet Mills) who happens to be the daughter of the "other woman", Lemmon finds himself stepping in a few of dad's footsteps, and falling under the sway of the beguiling Italian atmosphere. It's a very leisurely movie, but that's part of the effect. Clive Revill delivers a gem of a performance as a heroic hotel manager, and Juliet Mills (sister of Hayley, daughter of Sir John) had her finest screen hour here. As a director, Wilder spent much of his early career camouflaging his romantic streak under a cynical front; here, despite many acerbic touches and the presence of death as the central plot device, the romance is in full flower under the rich Italian sun. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com
When a beautiful woman claims that her dear husband has disappeared the investigation takes Sherlock Holmes (Robert Stephens) and Dr. Watson (Colin Blakely) to Scotland where - to their surprise - they uncover a plot involving clandestine society Her Majesty's Secret Service... and the Loch Ness Monster! But before he can deduce matters to the elementary Holmes makes an error that may jeopardize the national safety of Britain... and ruin his reputation!
The Apartment: C.C. ""Bud"" Baxter (Jack Lemmon) knows the way to success in business... it's through the door of his apartment! By providing a perfect hideaway for philandering bosses the ambitious young employee reaps a series of undeserved promotions. But when Bud lends the key to big boss J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) he not only advances his career but his own love life as well. For Sheldrake's mistress is the lovely Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine) elevator girl and angel of Bud's dreams. Convinced that he is the only man for Fran Bud must make the most important executive decision of his career: lose the girl... or his job. Seven Year Itch: It's every man's fantasy - a summer romance with the sexiest woman he can imagine. Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is a happily married man whose wife and son are off on vacation when his tempting new neighbor (Monroe) sneaks in one hot summer night to cool off in his air-conditioned apartment. How does an ordinary man deal with this irresistible temptation after seven years of marriage? Witness For The Prosecution: When a wealthy widow is found murdered her married suitor Leonard Vole (Power) is accused of the crime. Vole's only hope for acquittal is the testimony of his wife (Dietrich)... but his airtight alibi shatters when she reveals some shocking secrets of her own! Fortune Cookie: Harry Hinkle (Jack Lemmon) is one lucky guy! When he's accidentally clobbered by a 220-pound halfback all Harry suffers is a slight concussion. All that is until Whiplash Willie (Matthau) -- a legal scoundrel of the first order -- arrives on the scene! For if Harry follows shyster Willie's advice and feigns a crippling injury the two charlatans can split a cool million in phony insurance claims. But can Willie's world-class finagling dispel those ominous words that lie within the fortune cookie on Harry's hospital plate: You can't fool all of the people all of the time? The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes: When a beautiful woman claims that her dear husband has disappeared the investigation takes Sherlock Holmes (Robert Stephens) and Dr. Watson (Colin Blakely) to Scotland where - to their surprise - they uncover a plot involving a clandestine society Her Majesty's Secret Service... and the Loch Ness Monster! But before he can deduce matters to the elementary. Holmes makes an error that may jeopardize the national safety of Britain... and ruin his reputation!
Audrey Hepburn is the delightful, young, eponymous Sabrina, the daughter of a chauffeur who is hopelessly in love with David Larrabee (William Holden), the playboy younger son in the rich Long Island household her father works for. In order to help her forget her woes, Sabrina is shipped off to cooking school in Paris. While there, she befriends a baron who provides a bit of culture--and the encouragement to snip off her childlike ponytail. Upon her return to New York, Sabrina is transformed into a sophisticated woman, and David is entranced by her. However, his older brother Linus (Humphrey Bogart) has arranged David's marriage to Elizabeth Tyson in order to seal a business merger and thus must steer David away from Sabrina. To do this, Linus takes on the task of wooing her for himself. Full of great dialogue ("A woman happy in love, she burns the soufflé; a woman unhappy in love, she forgets to turn on the oven") and wonderful performances, this film is a romantic masterpiece. Also enjoyable is the 1995 remake, starring Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. --Jenny Brown
Eureka Entertainment to release FEDORA, Billy Wilder's spellbinding meditation on cinema starring William Holden and Marthe Keller, in a Dual Format edition as part of the Masters of Cinema Series on 19 September 2016. For his penultimate film, Billy Wilder created this elegiac, potent and richly entertaining mystery. Reuniting with one of his greatest actors William Holden, and co-written with his longtime collaborator I.A.L. Diamond, this is an exquisitely crafted tale of romance and intrigue. Washed-up producer Barry Dutch' Detweiler (William Holden) attempts to lure the iconic but reclusive actress Fedora (Marthe Keller) out of retirement in a bid to revive both their careers. But her privacy is hard won, and with good reason, and opening up the secrets surrounding her could spell disaster. Continuing the exploration of themes first examined in Sunset Boulevard, now decades later through the prism of New Hollywood, Fedora is a great filmmaker's testament, and a masterful, stirring exploration of cinema's power. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present a new dual-format special edition for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK. SPECIAL FEATURES: New high-definition 1080p presentation Deleted Scenes English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired Restoration Comparison A booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Neil Sinyard, a new essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns, a vintage piece on the film's production, and archival imagery Click Images to Enlarge
From the Moment they met it was Murder! Unsuspecting Mr. Dietrichson becomes increasingly accident prone after his icily calculating wife encourages him to sign a double indemnity policy proposed by a smooth-talking insurance agent. Against a backdrop of distinctly California settings the partners in crime plan the perfect murder to collect on the insurance. Perfect until a claims manager gets a familiar feeling of foul play and pursues the matter relentlessly . Tension soars as the would-be lovers find themselves plotting against each other.
Black comedy and suspenseful action inside a German POW camp during World War II--a setting that was later borrowed for the American TV sitcom Hogan's Heroes. The great director Billy Wilder adapted the hit stage play, applying his own wicked sense of humour to the apparently bleak subject matter. William Holden plays an antisocial grouse amid a gang of wisecracking though indomitable American prisoners. Because of his bitter cynicism, Holden is suspected by the others of being an informer to the Germans, an accusation he must deal with in his own crafty way. Holden, who had delivered a brilliant performance for Wilder in Sunset Blvd., won the 1953 Best Actor Oscar for Stalag 17. Very much his equal, however, is Otto Preminger, an accomplished director himself, who plays the strict, sneering camp commandant. --Robert Horton
Eureka Entertainment to release Billy Wilder's ONE, TWO, THREE, a witty and energetic comedic showpiece starring James Cagney, presented on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as a part of The Masters of Cinemas Series from 15 April 2019, featuring a Limited Edition slipcase [2000 copies ONLY]. One of director Billy Wilder's most frenetic comedies, the madcap Cold War and corporate politics satire One, Two, Three has to be one of the only films almost capable of making its Wilder predecessors Some Like It Hot and The Apartment seem sedately paced in comparison. Featuring a hilarious lead performance by James Cagney (apparently so exhausted by the rapid-fire pace that he then retired for twenty years!), One, Two, Three hasn't always been as famous as Wilder's other comedies, but it's among his best. Cagney is C.R. Mac MacNamara, a top Coca-Cola executive shipped off to (then West) Berlin and told to keep an eye on his boss' 17-year-old Atlanta socialite daughter Scarlett (Pamela Tiffin) while she visits Germany. Scarlett's tour seems endless, and Mac discovers she's fallen for a (then East) Berlin communist agitator and the young couple are bound for Moscow! Mac has to bust up the burgeoning romance before his boss learns the truth, all the while dealing with his wife Phyllis (Arlene Francis) and her own impatience with German living. With One, Two, Three, Wilder set out to make the fastest picture in the world. Mission accomplished, so hang on and try not to miss too many gags if this is your first viewing of this knockabout comedy penned by Wilder's long-time screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present yet another Billy Wilder masterpiece on Blu-ray for the first time ever in the UK. Features: Limited Edition O Card slipcase [2000 copies ONLY] 1080p presentation on Blu-ray LPCM audio (original mono presentation) Optional English SDH subtitles Brand New and Exclusive Interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard Feature Length Audio Commentary by Film Historian Michael Schlesinger PLUS: A Collector's booklet featuring new essays by film scholar Henry K. Miller, critic Adam Batty, and archival material
Eureka Entertainment to release Billy Wilder's IRMA LA DOUCE, a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine on Blu-ray as a part of The Masters of Cinemas Series from 18 March 2019. One of director Billy Wilder's biggest box office hits following his landmark comedies Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, the spectacular Irma La Douce -- adapted from the 1956 musical for the French theatre -- reunites Wilder with his Apartment stars Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, providing the latter with one of her most fondly remembered (and OscarÂ®-nominated) early roles. MacLaine is Irma, a popular Parisian prostitute whose new pimp is an unlikely procurer: Nestor (Lemmon) is a former honest cop who was just fired and framed by his boss after Nestor inadvertently had him arrested in a raid. However, Nestor's love for Irma is making his newfound vocation impossible, so he poses as a phoney British lord who insists on being Irma's one and only client. But when Lord X appears to have become the victim of foul play...further comedic complications ensue! Irma La Douce offers many of the same sardonic observations on human nature as Wilder's earlier comedies -- in addition to the same riotous humour and touching romance -- but on an even broader, more colourful canvas. Collaborating again with his regular screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond, Wilder delivers one of his most purely entertaining crowd-pleasers of the 1960s. Features: Stunning 1080p presentation from a brand new 4K restoration LPCM Mono audio Optional English SDH subtitles Brand New and Exclusive Interview with film scholar Neil Sinyard Feature Length Audio Commentary by critic and film historian Kat Ellinger Feature Length Audio Commentary by film historian Joseph McBride PLUS: A Collector's booklet featuring a new essay by Richard Combs, alongside a wide selection of rare archival imagery.
Director Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard) and writer Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep) adapted James M. Cain's hard-boiled novel into this wildly thrilling story of insurance man Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray), who schemes the perfect murder with the beautiful dame Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck: kill Dietrichson's husband and make off with the insurance money. But, of course, in these plots things never quite go as planned, and Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson) is the wily insurance investigator who must sort things out. From the opening scene you know Neff is doomed, as the story is told in flashback; yet, to the film's credit, this doesn't diminish any of the tension of the movie. This early film noir flick is wonderfully campy by today's standards, and the dialogue is snappy ("I thought you were smarter than the rest, Walter. But I was wrong. You're not smarter, just a little taller"), filled with lots of "dame"s and "baby"s. Stanwyck is the ultimate femme fatale, and MacMurray, despite a career largely defined by roles as a softy (notably in the TV series My Three Sons and the movie The Shaggy Dog), is convincingly cast against type as the hapless, love-struck sap. --Jenny Brown
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