I’m sorry I didn’t warn about this sooner; I didn’t realize it was coming up so soon.
But in a little over 24 hours–2:30am EST on January 25*–Billy Wilder’s darkest film, Ace in the Hole (retitled The Big Carnival after bombing at the boxoffice), will be screened on TCM. (Here 's the capsule review I wrote for The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide.)
This film has never been released on DVD. It’s kind of an accepted fact among videophiles that it’s never been available on VHS either, but I see occasional evidence that makes me question that . . . although I’ve never actually seen a VHS of it. In any case, any legal VHS copy of this is holy-grail rare; almost as rare as Make Way for Tomorrow or A Time to Love and a Time to Die. The copy I have, which I got through trading with other enthusiasts, is about a grade D copy of a grade D copy. So of course I’m thrilled that I’m about to get for myself a first generation DVD-R right off the teevee. It’ll have an annoying little TCM logo in the corner, but hey, who cares about that?
I for one am amazed, and not a little perturbed, that this will be the first time TCM has ever shown this movie. The good news is that this bodes well for its imminent availability, if past patterns are anything to judge by.
In any case, any fan of dark satires of American media culture, as well as any fan of Billy Wilder or of the noirier type of film, should absolutely not miss this.
*TCM calls this Wednesday night, for scheduling purposes; and for me it’s on at 11.30pm PST, so it *is *Wednesday night. But it’s on at 2.30 Thursday morning on the East Coast. Hope that muddles it up enough for to set your TiVo by.