[VIDEO REVIEWS]The Wilder way: Never leave 'em bored"Making movies is a little like walking into a dark room," the filmmaker Billy Wilder once said. "Some people stumble across furniture, others break their legs, but some of us see better in the dark than others." Wilder died last Wednesday at 95.
Wilder worked with some of Hollywood's most famous movie stars, like Gloria Swanson, Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon. Wilder created many unforgettable scenes, from the shattering climax of "Sunset Boulevard" to Monroe holding down her skirt during an updraft in "Seven Year Itch." Whether Wilder was directing or writing, he set the standard for scathing social comedies. But he also succeeded at romance, drama and film noir, and won six Academy Awards. Following are reviews of two of his classics that you can find on video.
SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) - "Sunset Daero" in Korean
Directed by Wilder. Starring Swanson and William Holden.
At a time when Hollywood was usually portrayed as a perfect place, this movie shattered the illusion, exposing decay, blind ambition and pain. Wilder creates images that are strangely fascinating, from a dead man floating in a pool but staring at the camera to an elaborate funeral for a pet monkey.
Swanson was coaxed out of retirement to play Norma Desmond, an aging silent-movie diva who has lost her popularity and youth. She yearns to be famous and loved by the public once again.
The story revolves around her affair with Joe Gillis (Holden), a young, aspiring scriptwriter. In deep debt, he grabs a chance to make money when Desmond asks him to help her write the screenplay that will be a vehicle for her to "return to the millions who have never forgiven me for deserting the screen."
At first, Joe is taken aback when Norma insists he move in with her, but he slowly acquiesces to being a kept man. But when he falls in love with another girl, he is hopelessly entangled in Norma's psychotic life.
SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) - "Tteugeo-ungeosi Jo-a" in Korean
Directed by Wilder. Starring Monroe, Lemmon, and Tony Curtis.
Two hapless musicians, Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon), are struggling to make ends meet in prohibition-era Chicago when they accidentally witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. To escape the mob, the two disguise themselves as women, Josephine (Curtis) and Daphne (Lemmon). They then join an all-girl jazz group heading to sunny Florida.
The plan is to hit the coast, then ditch the band. But complications set in, such as the lead performer Sugar Kane (Monroe). Sugar is a gold digger, but lovable. Joe falls for Sugar, who thinks he's a woman. Meanwhile Daphne has to fend off the advances of a rich, older man.
The result is screwball comedy with mistaken identities and cheerful cynicism.
by Joe Yong-hee