USA Today - 07/20/2007 4 stars out of 4 -- "Decades ahead of its time in the fashion of NETWORK and A FACE IN THE CROWD..."
Sight and Sound - 10/01/2007
"Billy Wilder's gutter-press muckraker is surely one of the most vitriolic portraits of American enterprise ever to boast A-movie production values..."
Billy Wilder, even before the deeply cynical ACE IN THE HOLE, was well-known as one of American film's best satirists. He earned his reputation with SUNSET BOULEVARD and THE APARTMENT, but in ACE IN THE HOLE, one of his personal favorites of his many films, he failed at the box office. The film, although one of the most trenchant, insightful looks at the American newspaper business, became one of the director's least known works. Kirk Douglas stars as Charles Tatum, a hard-drinking dishonest newsman who's been fired from several big-city papers and winds up, much to his chagrin, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When he stumbles upon a small story, he decides to manipulate it into a big national media event. After Leo Minosa (Richard Benedict), the owner of a curio shop, is trapped underground digging at an Indian cliff dwelling, Tatum arranges with a corrupt sheriff and a greedy contractor to intentionally delay the rescue for days while he builds the story--and his exclusive rights to it--into a frenzy of activity. He is aided by Lorraine Minosa (Jan Sterling), the bitter wife of the trapped man. All this was, at the time, too much for both critics and audiences, but Wilder's direction, a taut, biting script, and a great performance by Douglas make this an undeservedly overlooked part of Billy Wilder's career.