11 May 2011

Spotlight | Billy Wilder

I would like to introduce you to one of my Top 5 directors, Mr Billy Wilder.

As opposed to directors such as Orson Welles and Hitchcock who liked to bring attention to creative camera angles and editing, Wilder favoured emphasis on a sharp script and biting dialogue. He never wanted to bring attention to the actual filmmaking process, rather he wanted the audience to lose themselves in the story and characters. This no doubt stemmed from his origins in his native Germany as a screenwriter and he enjoyed a long collaboration with equally sharp-witted writer, I. A. L. Diamond.

It is his ability to “tell a good story” which is why I love him as a director. I’ve always been a firm believer in the theory that it is impossible to make a great film from a bad script (hence my hatred of anything remotely Michael Bay-like), and Billy Wilder felt the same.

Although probably best known for this:

Some Like It Hot (1959)

He is one of my best-loved directors for this:

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

And possibly my alltime favourite…

The Apartment (1960)

A few quotes burned in my brain:

“That’s the way it crumbles, cookie-wise” The Apartment

Joe Gillis: You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
Norma Desmond: I *am* big. It's the *pictures* that got small.

Sunset Boulevard

“Real diamonds! They must be worth their weight in gold!” Some Like It Hot

“When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara” The Apartment

“Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.” Some Like It Hot

“There's nothing tragic about being fifty. Not unless you're trying to be twenty-five.” Sunset Boulevard

“It’s not how long it takes, it’s who’s taking you” Some Like It Hot

“I'd like to spell it out for you...only I can't spell” The Apartment

“Mr De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up” Sunset Boulevard

“Nobody’s perfect!” Some Like It Hot

Do yourself a favour and rent one of the above films this weekend. You’ll have a couple of hours of wonderful.