27 Days With Billy Wilder And Me

Every Movie He Directed…From Mauvaise Graine to Buddy Buddy

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Entries from July 26th, 2011

Day Twenty Seven: Buddy Buddy

July 26th, 2011 · No Comments · 1981, Adaptation, Buddy Buddy, Francis Veber, Jack Lemmon, Klaus Kinski, Paula Prentiss, Walter Matthau

Billy Wilder’s twenty-seventh movie, Buddy Buddy, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, was released in 1981. Billy was 75 years old. With Buddy Buddy, Billy Wilder’s directorial career ended not with a whimper, but with a wretch. Buddy Buddy is the story of a hitman (Matthau) trying to do one last job before retiring. A [...]

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Day Twenty Six: Fedora

July 25th, 2011 · No Comments · 1978, Fedora, Hildegard Knef, José Ferrer, Marthe Keller, William Holden

Billy Wilder’s twenty-sixth movie, Fedora, starring William Holden and Marthe Keller, was released in 1978. Billy was 72 years old. It was hard to find this movie. It’s out of print in the U.S. Or it was never on DVD in the first place. Either way, don’t expect to pick one up at your local [...]

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Day Twenty Five: The Front Page

July 24th, 2011 · No Comments · 1974, Adaptation, David Wayne, Front Page, IAL Diamond, Jack Lemmon, Susan Sarandon, Vincent Gardenia, Walter Matthau

Billy Wilder’s twenty-fifth movie, The Front Page, starring Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, and Susan Sarandon was released in 1974. Billy was 68 years old. There is absolutely no reason why this movie should have been made — not when His Girl Friday stands as the definitive remake of the play The Front Page by Ben [...]

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Day Twenty Four: Avanti!

July 23rd, 2011 · No Comments · 1972, Adaptation, Avanti, Clive Revill, Edward Andrews, Italy, Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills, Nude Scene

Billy Wilder’s twenty-fourth movie, Avanti!, starring Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills, was released in 1972. Billy was 66 years old. Avanti! is the story of a brusque American executive (Lemmon) who must travel to Italy to pick up the body of his father who passed away unexpectedly. There, he discovers that his father died in [...]

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Day Twenty Three: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

July 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · 1970, Adaptation, Arthur Conan Doyle, Christopher Lee, Colin Blakely, Gabrielle Valladon, IAL Diamond, Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Robert Stephens, Sidney Lumet, Tamara Toumanova

Billy Wilder’s twenty-third movie, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely, was released in 1970. Billy was 64 years old. This movie represents another career twist for Billy Wilder. It was released four years after The Fortune Cookie, and is not a comedy — slapstick, frenetic, or otherwise. It’s a [...]

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Day Twenty Two: The Fortune Cookie

July 21st, 2011 · No Comments · 1966, Academy Award, Cliff Osmond, Ed Sikov, Fortune Cookie, Howard McNear, IAL Diamond, Jack Lemmon, On Sunset Boulevard, Walter Matthau

Billy Wilder’s twenty-second movie, The Fortune Cookie, the Academy-Award winning film starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, was released in 1966. Billy was 60 years old. It’s a good thing I like Jack Lemmon. Here he is again in The Fortune Cookie. (All told, Lemmon appears in seven Wilder films!) Fortunately, this time he’s with [...]

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Day Twenty One: Kiss Me, Stupid

July 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments · 1964, Adaptation, Dean Martin, Ed Sikov, Howard McNear, IAL Diamond, John Fiedler, Kim Novak, Peter Sellers, Ray Walston

Billy Wilder’s twenty-first movie, Kiss Me Stupid, starring Dean Martin and Kim Novak, was released in 1964. Billy was 58 years old. Kiss Me, Stupid opens with Dean Martin on stage, essentially, playing himself — Dino, a lecherous Vegas singer. In between puffs on his cigarette, and swigs from his glass of bourbon, he sings [...]

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Day Twenty: Irma la Douce

July 19th, 2011 · No Comments · 1963, Academy Award, Adaptation, Alexandre Breffort, Bruce Yarnell, Grace Lee Whitney, Herschel Bernardi, Howard McNear, Irma la Douce, Jack Lemmon, Lou Jacobi, Paris, Shirley MacLaine

Billy Wilder’s twentieth movie, Irma la Douce, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine, was released in 1963. Billy was 57 years old. Once again, Billy’s directorial output takes a turn — this time for the better. It’s possible this is a better movie than the one that preceded it (One, Two, Three, starring James Cagney) [...]

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Day Nineteen: One, Two, Three

July 18th, 2011 · No Comments · 1961, Adaptation, Arlene Francis, Berlin, Coca-Cola, Horst Buchholz, IAL Diamond, James Cagney, One Two Three, Pamela Tiffin, Zany

Billy Wilder’s nineteenth movie, One, Two, Three, starring James Cagney, was released in 1961. Billy was 55 years old. I know I’m in trouble when the blurbs on the DVD box announce the movie inside is: “A fast-paced, lighthearted farce crammed with gags!” and “Wilder and Diamond at their zaniest best!” “Gags” and “zany” are [...]

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Day Eighteen: The Apartment

July 17th, 2011 · No Comments · 1960, Academy Award, Apartment, Fred MacMurray, IAL Diamond, Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine

Billy Wilder’s eighteenth movie, The Apartment, the Academy-Award winning comedy starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray, was released in 1960. Billy was 54 years old. In typical Billy Wilder fashion, The Apartment starts with voiceover narration — lots and lots of exposition, which is usually the kiss of death for a screenwriter with [...]

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