Billy Wilder

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4/13/12
Paper #3: “Library Research”

“Billy Wilder”

Billy Wilder’s work today remains masterful and memorable. From his skilled screenwriting to his directing, Wilder holds a key position in cinema history. Wilder’s stylistic and thematic elements are recognizable and give off a complex reflection of his American and European cultural influences. I think that Billy Wilder should be considered an “auteur” even if he is not already considered one, for his personal film style and the mere fact that his cynical vision allowed him to create many admirable films across a number of genre boundaries throughout his career. However, film critics tend to disagree and believe that Wilder was too cynical, while also complaining about the lack of conviction in his films. Some of Wilder’s films include: Double Indemnity, one of the first true film noir films to deal with issues of adultery, The Lost Weekend, one of the first films to deal with alcoholism head-on onscreen, and the classic comedy Some Like It Hot which was one of the first films to deal with cross-dressing. Wilder’s personal film style appealed to pop-culture and made him very popular throughout the film industry. His movies combined social realism, crime, moral degeneracy and light heart humor. Hypothetically speaking, the French theory of “auteurism” is a director whose films reflect their personal creative vision, can be considered works of art, and have a copyright held by their director. Whereas Andrew Sarris, the French author of Cahiers du Cinema, believes an “auteur” is “a pantheon of directors, whose work purportedly exhibits ‘interior meaning’ through the tension created between the director’s material and ‘personality,’ or “certain recurring characteristics of style which serve as his signature.” (McNally, pg. 1). Sarris doesn’t believe that Wilder is an “auteur” because he thinks Wilder’s films lack visual and structural elements. I disagree with Sarris’s theory because even though Wilders...
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