“It’s dark for 2007, let alone for 1951,” says Spike Lee, who admits to stealing the flick’s famous last shot – stricken star Kirk Douglas falling, his eye within inches of the camera – for “Malcolm X.” More
Spike Lee is featured in one of the many special features on the DVD, which include a 1980 feature-length documentary on Wilder and vintage interviews with Wilder and Kirk Douglas.
Update 20 July 2007: Two more reviews of this DVD release have appeared:
Wilder’s Bleak Commentary Comes Up Ace by Chris Garcia on Austin360.com -
Some call it satire. If so, it’s satire of the bleakest stripe. It is certainly “newspaper noir,” a sub-genre marked by tough, ink-stained downers like “Sweet Smell of Success” and “Underworld Story” that expose the power of the press when it’s gone sour and scheming.
Noir’s window into American society is filthy but clear. “Ace in the Hole” presents more than a view through it. It offers a timely reflection, pushing the movie past a crack thriller and grim character study to something elegiac and urgent.
Presence of Malice by Jack Shafer on SLATE -
“Ace in the Hole” disturbs journalists because they recognize too much of themselves and their colleagues in the film’s loathsome protagonist, Charles Tatum (Kirk Douglas). Like most classic film noir tough guys, Tatum is running from a sordid past. He’s stranded in Albuquerque with no money and a car with bad tires and a burned bearing, so he ambles into the Sun-Bulletin office and pitches the straight-laced editor for a job…