Ace in the Big Carnival

Here’s an interesting entry in the 1001 Films list–a movie with two different titles.  Apparently, the studio changed the name from Ace in the Hole to The Big Carnival upon release and then Turner Classic Movies arbitrarily changed it back.

Ace in the Hole - Kirk Douglas - Movie poster

More interesting still is that this one completes Hollywood’s media attack trifecta.  They clobbered the theater, cinema and now the press.  All three are fascinating in much the same way as a car crash.  A cynical view of modern cultural icons as they were back then.

Though it continues the list of films that show media people in unattractive light, this one is particularly cynical because Kirk Douglas‘ character (too bad he died this year as it would have been awesome to give him a shoutout) plays someone who isn’t just battling internal demons but also corruptly putting others at risk.

The important element of the ending is one you can see a mile away and, worse, though the character does come to see the error of his ways, the Hays Code means that it ends well for no one.

It’s another bleak Wilder vehicle after Sunset Boulevard and The Lost Weekend, and our estimable director apparently wanted us never to forget his previous unfortunate characters, as evidenced by the fact that the insurance company man from this film works for the same fictitious company featured in Double Indemnity.

Anyhow, this one is for people who enjoy a good suffering melodrama.

 

Gustavo Bondoni is an Argentine novelist and short story writer whose dark fiction is collected in the 2020 ebook Pale Reflection.  You can check it out here.

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