Billy Wilder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Billy Wilder (22 June 1906 – 27 March 2002) was an Austria/Hungarian-born American filmmaker, screenwriter, producer, artist, and journalist, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood's golden age. Wilder is one of only five people who have won Academy Awards as producer, director, and writer for the same film (The Apartment). Wilder became a screenwriter in the late 1920s while living in Berlin. After the rise of Adolf Hitler, Wilder, who was Jewish, left for Paris, where he made his directorial debut. He relocated to Hollywood in 1933, and in 1939 he had a hit as a co-writer of the screenplay to the screwball comedy Ninotchka. Wilder established his directorial reputation after helming Double Indemnity (1944), a film noir he co-wrote with mystery novelist Raymond Chandler. Wilder earned the Best Director and Best Screenplay Academy Awards for the adaptation of a Charles R. Jackson story The Lost Weekend, about alcoholism. In 1950, Wilder co-wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Sunset Boulevard. From the mid-1950s on, Wilder made mostly comedies. Among the classics Wilder created in this period are the farces The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959), satires such as The Apartment (1960), and the romantic comedy Sabrina (1954). He directed fourteen different actors in Oscar-nominated performances. Wilder was ...

A Foreign Affair (1948)

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi cafe singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Jean Arthur  •  Marlene Dietrich  •  John Lund  •  Millard Mitchell
Ace in the Hole (1951)

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to revitalize his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control media circus.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Kirk Douglas  •  Jan Sterling  •  Robert Arthur  •  Porter Hall
Double Indemnity (1944)

A rich woman and a calculating insurance agent plot to kill her unsuspecting husband after he signs a double indemnity policy. Against a backdrop of distinctly Californian settings, the partners in crime plan the perfect murder to collect the insurance, which pays ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
Love in the Afternoon (1957)

Lovestruck conservatory student Ariane pretends to be just as much a cosmopolitan lover as the worldly mature Frank Flannagan hoping that l’amour will take hold.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Gary Cooper  •  Audrey Hepburn  •  Maurice Chevalier  •  John McGiver
One, Two, Three (1961)

C.R. MacNamara will do anything to get a promotion within the Coca-Cola company, including looking after boss W.P. Hazeltine's rebellious teenage daughter, Scarlett. When Scarlett visits Berlin, where C.R. is stationed, she reveals that she is married to a ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  James Cagney  •  Horst Buchholz  •  Pamela Tiffin  •  Arlene Francis
Sabrina (1954)

ClassicCharmingRomanticEnjoyable

Linus and David Larrabee are the two sons of a very wealthy family. Linus is all work – busily running the family corporate empire, he has no time for a wife and family. David is all play – technically he is employed by the family business, but never shows up for ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
Some Like It Hot (1959)

ClassicFunnyBrilliantSuspenseful

Two musicians witness a mob hit and struggle to find a way out of the city before they are found by the gangsters. Their only opportunity is to join an all-girl band as they leave on a tour. To make their getaway they must first disguise themselves as women, then ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Marilyn Monroe  •  Tony Curtis  •  Jack Lemmon  •  George Raft
Stalag 17 (1953)

FunnyClassic

It's a dreary Christmas 1944 for the American POWs in Stalag 17 and the men in Barracks 4, all sergeants, have to deal with a grave problem—there seems to be a security leak.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  William Holden  •  Don Taylor  •  Otto Preminger  •  Robert Strauss
Sunset Boulevard (1950)

ClassicDarkDramaticBrilliant

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
The Apartment (1960)

CharmingClassicOriginalRomantic

Bud Baxter is a minor clerk in a huge New York insurance company, until he discovers a quick way to climb the corporate ladder. He lends out his apartment to the executives as a place to take their mistresses. Although he often has to deal with the aftermath of ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Jack Lemmon  •  Shirley MacLaine  •  Fred MacMurray  •  Ray Walston
The Fortune Cookie (1966)

A cameraman is knocked over during a football game. His brother in law as the king of the ambulance chasing lawyers starts a suit while he's still knocked out. The cameraman is against it until he hears that his ex-wife will be coming to see him. He pretends to be ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Jack Lemmon  •  Walter Matthau  •  Ron Rich  •  Judi West
The Lost Weekend (1945)

Don Birnam, a long-time alcoholic, has been sober for ten days and appears to be over the worst... but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother and girlfriend, he begins a four-day bender that just might be his ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Ray Milland  •  Jane Wyman  •  Phillip Terry  •  Howard Da Silva
The Major and the Minor (1942)

Susan Applegate, tired of New York after one year and twenty-five jobs, decides to return to her home town. Discovering she hasn't enough money for the train fare, Susan disguises herself as a twelve-year-old and travels for half the price. Caught out by the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Ginger Rogers  •  Ray Milland  •  Rita Johnson  •  Robert Benchley
The Seven Year Itch (1955)

CharmingBrilliantClassicCute

With his family away for their annual summer holiday, Richard Sherman decides he has the opportunity to live a bachelor's life. The beautiful but ditzy blonde from the apartment above catches his eye and they soon start spending time together - maybe a little too ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Marilyn Monroe  •  Tom Ewell  •  Evelyn Keyes  •  Sonny Tufts
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)

Charles 'Slim' Lindbergh struggles to finance and design an airplane that will make his New York to Paris flight the first solo transatlantic crossing.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

When Leonard Vole is arrested for the sensational murder of a rich, middle-aged widow, the famous Sir Wilfrid Robarts agrees to appear on his behalf. Sir Wilfrid, recovering from a near-fatal heart attack, is supposed to be on a diet of bland, civil suits—but the ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
Irma la Douce (1963)

A Parisian policeman gives up everything for the love of a free-living sex worker.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Jack Lemmon  •  Shirley MacLaine  •  Lou Jacobi  •  Cliff Osmond
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)

Director Billy Wilder adds a new and intriguing twist to the personality of intrepid detective Sherlock Holmes. One thing hasn't changed however: Holmes' crime-solving talents. Holmes and Dr. Watson take on the case of a beautiful woman whose husband has vanished. ...  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
The Emperor Waltz (1948)

At the turn of the 20th century, travelling salesman Virgil Smith journeys to Vienna in the hope he can sell a gramophone to Emperor Franz Joseph, whose purchase of the recent American invention could spur its popularity in Austria.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Bing Crosby  •  Joan Fontaine  •  Roland Culver  •  Lucile Watson
Avanti! (1972)

FunnyCuteClassicCharming

A successful businessman goes to Italy to arrange for the return of his tycoon-father's body only to discover dad died with his mistress of long standing.  (more)

DIRECTION:  Billy Wilder
CAST:  Jack Lemmon  •  Juliet Mills  •  Clive Revill  •  Edward Andrews