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Tom Gregory

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Tom Gregory's Hollywood Vault radio clips, as featured on Leeza Gibbons' national radio program Hollywood Confidential!

Ace In the Hole

Ace In the Hole

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Below is a transcript of the review on the audio file playable above.

Finally out on DVD is 1951's film noir classic, "Ace in the Hole." Directed by Billy Wilder, it stars Kirk Douglas as Chuck Tatum, a down-on-his-luck newspaper reporter looking for a big story to make him a big name national newshound.

After a year at a dusty Albuquerque newspaper reporting on baseball games, Indian pow-wows, and rattlesnake hunts, Tatum stumbles across Leo, the owner of a roadside café who is trapped in an ancient Indian cave. Seizing the opportunity to make a small story huge, self-serving Tatum teams up with the local sheriff to secretly make the rescue drag on much longer than is necessary, making the story the one that will make him famous.

A folly of flesh and blood foolishness follows as folks from around the country camp out to witness the fate of the poor sap stuck in the cave. Carnival rides, cotton candy, and carnivores can't help the guy now. The poor chump's loveless wife Lorraine, is lapping up the attention and the cash from so many visitors willing to buy supplies, food, and trinkets from their roadside rest stop. Lorraine's the kind of hard-boiled girl who doesn't shed a tear for her suffering husband. When newspaper hack Tatum tells her she should be seen crying, suffering, and praying she responds, "I don’t pray, kneeling bags my nylons."

This flick reminds us that when you make the wrong choice eventually someone is going to pay. By the time the circus is over, everyone who is exploiting this tragedy winds up buried up to their neck in rocky retribution.

On the surface, "Ace in the Hole" is one of the most cynical films Hollywood has ever produced. But its timeless message - that selfishness and greed will eventually bite you in the back - remind us that each of us must patrol our own morals and constantly raise our own standards, and that alone make this piece of film noir a Hollywood Classic.

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