A FOREIGN AFFAIR (Billy Wilder, 1948)

Dark, mordant and, at times, dangerously funny, Billy Wilder’s brilliant comedy A Foreign Affair is Hollywood’s contribution to the German genre trummerfilme; it was “largely” shot on location, amidst the ruins and rubble of bombed-out postwar Berlin. It shows defeat and demoralization—and tenacity and dim hope. It is bleedingly moving to boot—an assault on German […]

LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (Billy Wilder, 1957)

In his funniest, most beautifully paced romantic comedy, Love in the Afternoon, which builds to one of his most soaring finales, Billy Wilder pays tribute to his idol, Ernst Lubitsch (Trouble in Paradise, Angel, Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner). Gary Cooper, who had starred in Lubitsch’s Design for Living and Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, whose […]

MIDNIGHT (Mitchell Leisen, 1939)

“Every Cinderella has her midnight.” Claudette Colbert sparkles as Eve Peabody, a sou-less American in Paris who, at the behest of wealthy Georges Flammarion, romantically draws out Jacques Picot to pry him away from Flammarion’s wife. Meanwhile, cabdriver Tibor Czerny, an Hungarian emigré (Don Ameche, serviceable), in love with Eve, does his best to derail […]


United Artists, savaging its own original purpose in being, reduced Sherlock Holmes’s four cases to two in what is, even in its mutilated form, a wonderful film: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Brilliantly written by Billy Wilder, who also beautifully directed, and Izzy Diamond, it is hilarious and, finally, very moving. Count no one […]