Billy Wilder was born 100 years ago today in a village now known as Sucha Beskidzka, Poland. He left us four years and three months ago, or roughly seven months after the best book about him — Cameron Crowe‘s “Conversations with Wilder” — hit the book stores.
You could argue that the last “real” Billy Wilder film — The Fortune Cookie — came out 40 years ago, and that the guy’s a relic by 2006 measurings. But all that goes away when you sit down and watch his better films. Not the stodgy ones…not Love in the Afternoon or The Spirit of St. Louis (a personal soft spot) or The Front Page but (I have to remind myself there are hundreds if not thousands who’ve never heard these titles) Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, Stalag 17, Sabrina, One, Two, Three. Here are three dialogue excerpts — from Sunset Boulevard , The Apartment, and One, Two, Three. Which reminds me…where’s that DVD of Ace in the Hole?