Ace in the Hole / The Big Carnival
Director: Billy Wilder
Year Released: 1951
Shifty journalist-in-exile Kirk Douglas is so eager to get back to his old lofty job in New York City that he exploits an incident involving a grave robber trapped in a cave for his own gain, creating a media frenzy with himself as ringmaster. It deserves credit for predicting present-day media hysteria and the dubious role of journalists in a sometimes ethically-challenged world - "old school" writers are the ones with belts and suspenders, with "tell the truth" embroidery framed above their desks - but it is, for all of its strengths, preachy and blatant, with Douglas' character so slimy and predictable you can predict his next three moves well in advance (not to mention his eventual downfall). Douglas, though charismatic, could be accused of over-acting, though it's not flagrant enough to ruin the picture.
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