Six and a half years ago I bought Criterion’s then-new DVD of Billy Wilder‘s Ace in the Hole (’51). For years I had written lovingly of this film’s flinty, hard-as-nails quality. I’ve mentioned Jan Sterling‘s “hard-boiled egg” line a couple of times. I’ve memorized Kirk Douglas‘s “eight spindly trees in front of Rockefeller Center” speech. But guess what? My main reaction to the DVD was “this is too cynical, too bitter…it overplays that aspect.” The best movies always define themselves with a precise tone and world-view, but too much cynicism kills the ghoulash. On top of which that Criterion DVD looks pretty good. I’m not persuaded that shelling out $30 bills for a Masters of Cinema Bluray (streeting on 4.28) is all that necessary. Who am I kidding? I’ll be shelling out but I won’t like myself in the morning.