Ace In The Hole

Ace In The Hole

(1951)

Directed by Billy Wilder
Starring Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall

Rating: ******
              6/6

Kirk Douglas was once a Champion
Who was highly paid for his work.
Oftentimes he played heroes,
And other times he played jerks.

Kirk arrives in town.

Sometimes he played men so vile
They sear into your brain,
And make good men try harder
To not act like him again.

Ace In The Hole is the kind of film
You need only see once,
And the story is so etched into your mind
You can’tforget it, like a dunce.

He meets a floosie.

Kirk Douglas plays a reporter,
Temporarily unemployed,
Who wanders into a very small place.
To the locals, he looks annoyed,

For he is a man of ambition
Who will hesitate not at all,
To step on everyone in his path,
Rising while his enemies fall.

Someone’s trapped in a mine.

He enters the local watering hole
And meets a woman down on her luck.
She’s lucky if she makes a whole dollar a day,
And her face tells him that she feels stuck.

He’s unpleasant towards her, and soon after leaves
When a man gets trapped in a mine.
We see a gleam in his eyes not heretofore seen,
And he gets there in double time.

The trapped man.

The Mayor is there, and the head miner, too.
They’re planning the best way to save him.
The miner thinks he can be out in three days
If they shore up the walls to protect him.

Kirk sneers at this thought.
Three days is too soon.
They should leave him there for a week.
Those assembled ask why. Was e some kind of loon?
Who gave him permission to speak?

“I can capitalize on this.”

Kirk has an idea to make everyone rich.
He’ll play this up to the Gazettes.
Hordes of folks will come visit this town
And spend far more than this town usually gets.

The Mayor’s all for it. What magnificent luck
That this newsman would fix all their woes.
The miner’s against it, but has to give in.
He’s outnumbered against all these foes.

The floosie smiles.

They decide to rescue him in a different way,
One that takes significantly longer.
Kirk looks at the miner and lies to his face
And tells him he won’t be there for much longer.

He then returns to the watering hole,
And sees the woman there trying to flee.
She has eleven dollars in her hand
And tells him she wants to be free.

Kirk slaps the smile off her face.

He snarls at her and tells her his plan,
And how much she’ll be making this week.
He tells her to be strong and triumphant,
Instead of stupid, fragile and weak.

She listens to him, as the whole town does,
And he ensures that the word is spread.
He calls up the nation’s biggest papers.
And blackmails them to print what he said.

The media arrive.

“This’ll be the story of the Century,”
He says with a bark.
“All of you need me to tell it.
Don’t worry. I’ll give it a happy finis.
I’ll tell you when I’m ready to sell it.”

Then tourists—yes tourists—come visit the town,
Along with a carnival for their amusement.
These people decided to just come on down
To some of the local’s bemusement.

“This is the way you’ve got to play it.”

They act like they’re attending a circus,
So rides and games certainly seem apt.
What nobody seems to care about
Is that they’re all there because someone’s trapped.

The newsman is king of the pound for a while.
Everything’s going his way.
Then the bad news comes creeping along,
And he discovers the price he must pay.

A good day’s work.

The man in the mine has got minutes to live.
They took far too long getting him out.
He dies, and the tourists go back to their homes,
And the carnival also moves out.

The big papers tell him it’s yesterday’s news,
For which they won’t pay him a dime.
In anger, he goes to the watering hole
And tries rape as his final crime.

The circus comes to town.

He fails. She stabs him. It’s over for him.
He has reached the last book on his shelf.
Still, if he were able to continue to live,
Could he have lived with himself?

This dark and bleak film, with its miserable souls
Shows humankind at its lowest.
Kirk is just one of the snakes in the grass,
Even if he might be the lowest.

Reporters, the scum of the Earth.

It’s an excellent film, a thinking man’s film,
With a story you’ll never unsee.
It’s much like his son’s Falling Down.
Its message will last eternally.

What should I rate this film among films?
It didn’t leave me feeling happy.
I’m giving it a full six out of six,
For being brutally honest, not sappy.

“Just don’t expect me to treat you like a person.”

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