“The Man You Love to Hate”.

In the film world most people give this name justifiably to Erich Von Stroheim. Little do most people know that this name was also helmed to Billy Wilder (Zolotow 13). The caricature of Billy Wilder is usually thought to be one of a calm, collected man. Little do many know that often he was rough and unpredictable, a so-called “loose cannon” (Sikov 13). He had several affairs and was a leading source of the ruin of the legendary author Raymond Chandler. Even so the themes in his film transcend this notorious backstage life, showing not only the unpredictability of humanity, but the truth that romanticism can exist even in a cynical world in several of his films. On June 22, 1906, Samuel Wilder was born to Max Wilder and Eugenia Baldinger in Sucha, a small town within one hundred miles of Vienna in the now Polish province Galicia, Austria-Hungary. From a very early time in life, Wilder saw life very idealistically, seeing life as an illusion, with actors who didn't know their parts (Zolotow 20). From an early age, he learned to pursue his dreams. Both of his parents had ambitious dreams as roles for him. His mother dreamed of moving to America, while his father dreamed of being successful. Max Wilder ended up accomplishing this by consolidating the several businesses into a four story hotel and restaurant in Krakow around 1911 (Zolotow 22). This created an ambition in the young Samuel's (or as his America-loving mother called him, "Billie's”) heart to become successful. Growing up the young Billie spent several hours a week working for his father in the hotel. During interviews when asked about the subject, Wilder would that he hated the experience (Crowe), but it was obvious that his experience at the hotel was crucial to his understanding of human nature (which plays an integral part in several of the things he would go on to write) to his cynical view on romanticism (likely seen by honeymooners coming and going). These days were crucial in forming the core of Billie’s writing.

Whiteman was very amused. but it can be seen as a positive thing in hindsight for if there was no sudden change in ambition there would be no great-filmmaker Wilder to talk about. and become a journalist (Zolotow 26). eventually hiring him as a press-agent interpreter for him while he toured in Berlin (Zolotow 29-30).In 1924. stop seeing his girlfriend Ilse. This job was an exciting new time in Wilder’s life. Remarque was enthralled with the psychology of the soldier and decided that a novel should be written about World War I from the point of view of a German soldier. Excited . In 1926 he met the legendary jazz composer Paul Whiteman. writing about the dark depths of society would seem devoutly depressing but to Wilder it was a thrilling experience. in 1924 Wilder became a reporter in Vienna. While he was working as a crime journalist he befriended his coworker Erich Remarque. When Wilder saw him he ran up to him enthusiastically and tried to make conversation with him using the few English phrases he knew. Little is known as to the reasons why he had such an abrupt change in life ambition. Billie graduated high school with plans to go to the law school at the University of Vienna in hopes of finding success as a lawyer. However three months after he began he quit abruptly and went into a state of seclusion almost. writing several stories about dark topics such as murder and robbery. After he moved to Berlin to help Whiteman. As strange as this may sound. going as far as to move out of his house. To many people. Regardless. This helped Wilder hone his English and learn about the culture. he took a second job as a crime reporter. best known for commissioning “Rhapsody in Blue in 1924”. eventually running out and resorting to reciting bits of lyrics he heard from American music (some of which was composed by Whiteman). leading him to follow several stories including ones about things like corruption and murder (Zolotow 28). These experiences helped him later in his career not only by helping him hone his writing skills but also helping him understand his point of view on humanity as a whole and put a strong cynicism into them.

In Hollywood. Wilder had befriended one of his idols Carl Mayer. Quickly Wilder realized changed his name from Billie to Billy after realizing that in America “Billie” is a female’s name. Months before Wilder came to America in 1933. they proved very successful in helping Wilder develop his three-act structure necessary for film.about this idea. Wilder was not as impressed. Quickly Wilder got several writing credits for his scripts. This created both a huge resentment towards Remarque that led to the two physically fighting and Wilder having an affair with Remarque’s wife and at the same time an ambition to write narratives (Zolotow 36). Wilder quickly found success after getting recognized for his credited scripts that he wrote in Germany under Pommer. Remarque told Wilder about his idea. and creating detailed scenarios for over 200 silent films. While these 200-some scenarios didn’t get his name into any credits. and went on to write what was to become the masterpiece “All Quiet on the Western Front”. As an ambitious screenwriter Wilder knew that to be successful the best place to move would be America. he co-wrote and co-directed Mauvaise Graine with Alexander . Wilder decided to move to Hollywood. all uncredited (Zolotow 38). writing People on Sunday and 12 other scripts. He told Remarque that this idea would turn into a “huge failure” and that “he shouldn’t quit his job to write it”. Wilder worked as a screenwriter under Pommer until 1933 when he realized that the rise of Hitler would provide troublesome for his future as a Jew (Zolotow 46). By the time “All Quiet on the Western Front” was released in 1928. who was known for writing “The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari” along with several other scripts. Thankfully for society Remarque didn’t listen to Wilder. Many of these films were produced by Erich Pommer who hired Wilder as a writer for his production company after meeting through mutual friend Mayer (Zolotow 43). Due to this strong influence of Mayer along with his jealousy of Remarque’s success Wilder began writing film scripts (Zolotow 37).

Columbia was a booming studio after the film It Happened One Night became a huge hit. Adorable. doctoring Lottery Lover and ghost rewriting Under Pressure and Thunder in the Night (Sikov 109-110). the two became close friends. He also gets story credits for the Hollywood remakes of Her Majesty Requests. While living in Hollywood. Wilder’s writing career continued. quickly befriending HP Garrett. This created a distaste of the censors throughout his career (Sikov 111). The two hit it off quickly and went on to write Encore and Gibraltar together. They picked up Pam-Pam in the same year and although they never released it as a movie. however the idea was rejected by the Hays Office. but it wasn’t until his script entitled Pam-Pam did Wilder get noticed. Wilder co-wrote Music in the Air. After Bluebeard’s Eighth wife. Although Music in the Air was a failure. it brought Wilder into Columbia’s attention as an extremely talented screenwriter (Sikov 98). While neither was ever produced.Esway in France. In 1934. Meanwhile Wilder was moving up in Hollywood circles. Around the same time he also met a man named Charles Brackett and quickly began a strong working relationship with him that would continue through most of his career starting with Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (Sikov 111). and One Exciting Adventure (Sikov 97). However for this film. Lorre’s strong drive to create the greatest performances possible influenced Wilder strongly (Sikov 106). the two went on to write Midnight which started Wilder’s distaste for having other directors interfere with his work which would eventually led to him directing his . he lived with German actor Peter Lorre who was known for his great performance in M. which ended as a tremendous flop and effectively put Gloria Swanson’s career on hiatus (Sikov 108-109). Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife was their first produced film as a writing team and was a great commercial success. Wilder had limited control over the final product and this left him with a bad impression of directing (Sikov 94-97). What Women Dream. Under Columbia. Columbia even proposed a remake of Wilder’s film Mauvaise Graine.

My Love was nominated for Best Original Story. One of Wilder's auteur traits of philandering can be seen as early as this movie as Barndon comically had eight wives. Hoping that after such a success. . After Ninotchka they wrote another screenplay on a controversial topic entitled Heil. Wilder was set out to direct. the studios would be more open as to what he could do occupationally. which was a slap in the face of sorts to the two after working hard on the translation to film (Sikov 145-149). but after seeing the success. and Ninotchka. This didn't discourage the two too much as in 1941 the two wrote Hold Back the Dawn and Ball of Fire (Sikov 151-154). What a Life which went on to become a Broadway show.own works. based on an original story given to them. this topic would be too controversial to translate to film. Unfortunately Goldwyn declined. but for Wilder and Brackett. Darling! showed how Wilder wouldn't keep away from any area as long as it made a good story. In 1940. While it was never produced. Meanwhile Midnight was another romantic comedy about a young woman set up by a millionaire in Paris to break up an affair his wife was having. it was just another interesting story that needed to be told. Heil. What a Life was an adaptation of a play of the same name about a young man Henry who is accused of trouble at his school and attempts to clear his name. he went to Samuel Goldwyn with hopes of convincing him. all three of them were great commercial successes (Sikov 129-141) Bluebeard's Eighth Wife was a romantic comedy about a rich socialite named Michael Barndon's eighth wife and her attempt to tame him. Ninotchka was a romantic satire about a young communistic Russian falling in love with an American man and rethinking her views afterwards. Oscar season came around and Arise. the writing team wrote the screenplay for Arise. My Love. Darling! was about a cynical reporter who falls in love with a beautiful blonde Nazi Doctor and many strange events ensue afterwards (Sikov 141-143). For most people. Neither of them could've guessed how much of a success Ball of Fire would be. Darling! Heil. not Best Screenplay.

Some could say that not until Lolita did such a movie make it past the censors. Paramount was planning on releasing a film version of the novella Double Indemnity . It was quite a screwball comedy as a 20-some year old woman dressing up as a little girl is a ridiculous disguise (foreshadowing the ridiculous disguises of Some Like It Hot) and touched on the taboo theme of pedophilia cleverly by making a grown man fall in love with a 12 year old girl. frilly dress and all) to save on train fare and consequentially meets an army major who teaches at a military school. Goldwyn was furious. On a personal level. But before Wilder stopped working for Goldwyn he called one more meeting with him. After Wilder ended his working relationship with Goldwyn he went on to ghostwrite Tales of Manhattan with Brackett in 1941 before going on to co-write and direct The Major and the Minor. a war thriller about an undercover British spy which released to fairly good reviews and 3 Oscar nominations (Lally 118-124). Wilder marries Judith Iribe in 1936 and has a daughter named Victoria on December 21. the famous gay male dancer who goes insane and believes he was a horse before he dies. This movie luckily got made due to Wilder being friends with a young Paramount executive named Joe Sistrom. 141). The movie became a great success and quickly launched Wilder’s career. but it became one of Wilder's favorite stories to tell. This effectively ended the Columbia era of Wilder life and began the new era of directing into Wilder's life. 1939 (Sikov 114. even if she wasn’t really 12 (Lally 110-118). The film was about a woman who disguises herself as a 12 year old girl (with pigtails. As a big joke he finished the pitch with the idea that "the movie" would end with a happy ending where Nijinsky goes on to win the Kentucky Derby (Lally 108). just to purposefully waste his time by telling him about a fake story idea he had about Vaslav Nijinsky. Wilder co-wrote and directed Five Graves to Cairo. After Five Graves to Cairo was released. In 1943.effectively ending the working relationship between the two.

with his longtime collaborator Brackett. the project was approved with a few objections (Lally 125). Best Director. though it didn’t win any (Lally 139). One of the most cherished praises to Wilder was actually from Hitchcock. Wilder went on to co-write and direct The Lost Weekend. an adaptation of a novel about four days in the life of an alcoholic. and Wilder agreed. Chandler was a recovering alcoholic at the time. Best Actor. Double Indemnity was nominated for a mind-blowing seven awards. Wilder would insult him repeatedly and at times even scream at him. Little did Chandler know that working with Wilder was an intense and abusive relationship. When Oscar season came around. and Best Screenplay respectively and won the Grand Prix (which would eventually be replaced by Palme D’Or in 1955 as the most prestigious . After The Lost Weekend was released in 1945. After the great success of Double Indemnity. He went to the original author James M. It was eventually nominated for 7 Oscars. The next step was to write a screenplay. and went on to win one for Best Picture. Sistrom and the other Paramount execs asked the two to write a treatment of it. Due to the new relaxations of the Hays Office in the 40s. Within a week they were finished and quickly the treatment was sent to the Hays Office.about an insurance agent who is talked into murder for insurance money and the trail he leaves behind. when told about his opportunity. but unfortunately he was busy. it met great critical acclaim (Lally 142-162). While this was a troublesome relationship. leaving Wilder in need of a co-writer. Sistrom suggested that the writing legend Raymond Chandler should co-write. the film was released shortly after to almost universal acclaim. quickly joined the project. Cain. Brackett disliked the story so he backed out of the project. who liked the movie so much he wrote a personal note to Wilder saying: “Since Double Indemnity. Chandler. but Wilder’s abuse pushed him back to drink (Lally 125-134). the two most important words are Billy Wilder” (Lally 135). Knowing how much Wilder and Brackett could get past the censors with A Major and A Minor.

grandmother. Unfortunately his personal life was going into shambles. the story created a tension between Wilder and him due to an unflattering portrayal of the US Army in Berlin. Wilder overcame this morbid time and went on to co-write and direct Emperor Waltz. This also created troubles with the censors as it was seen as almost un-American. Regardless Sunset Boulevard was a showbiz drama co-written and directed in 1950 about a disillusioned silent film star who lures an unsuccessful screenwriter to write a great return to the screen. This disagreement made this movie the last collaboration between the two. After all these awards and the success of Double Indemnity. at the time it was released.award at Cannes). Wilder’s next film was one entitled A Foreign Affair. he learned that his mother. If Charles Brackett wrote Sunset Boulevard as he wanted it to be it would’ve turned out as a lighthearted comedy instead of the dark drama that has made it acclaimed to this day. remakes are made of Ball of Fire and A Song is Born are released. With roles from . Wilder found universal acclaim as both a writer and a director. This crushed Wilder and sent him into a bitter stage in his life that led to a divorce with his wife Judith in 1947 (Lally 165). Meanwhile in 1948. and stepfather were all killed in Auschwitz (Lally 153). he married Audrey Young in 1949 to start a long happy relationship (Lally 184). A Foreign Affair was a romantic comedy about an army captain in a love triangle with an ex-Nazi woman and a US congresswoman in Berlin. Luckily for film fans. earning Wilder two story credits. However it was still made and went on to get 2 Oscars (Lally 174-181). In Wilder’s personal life. In 1945. a Technicolor musical comedy about a salesman who tries to get an endorsement from the Emperor of Austria at the turn of the century in 1947 (Lally 167-172). it was met with fairly good reviews and even got two Oscar nominations. Although in later interviews Wilder has stated that he hated how this movie turned out. Although Brackett assisted in writing this screenplay.

his next two movies. and his chauffer’s daughter. It went on to be nominated for 3 Oscars and to win one for William Holden’s talented role (Dick 66-70). After Sunset Boulevard was released. Although Ace in the Hole was a failure. However it became both a commercial and critical failure with accusations of plagiarism towards Wilder (although it went on to earn an Oscar nomination for best screenplay) (Dick 18-19). He continued to write even after his professional break-up with collaborator Charles Brackett starting with Ace in the Hole. it attracted some anger from fellow stars in Hollywood with many saying that the caricature of the business was over the top and offensive (Lally 185-204). Even so it became an American classic and a cornerstone of Wilder’s career. Wilder left Paramount and decided to freelance his work. His first movie as a freelance writer- . Buster Keaton. After Sabrina. ending up winning one for Best Writing. Best Set Decoration (Black and White). and H. Warner and Cecil B. DeMille. It ended up getting nominated for 11 Oscars. Gloria Swanson.actual silent film stars including Erich Von Stroheim. a drama about an unsuccessful journalist who tries to exploit a story about a man trapped in a cave in and the results. which under Wilder became a movie that was not only acclaimed but truly funny and reflective of Wilder’s cynicism. Stalag 17 was a war comedy released in 1953 about prisoners of war. were both great successes. Billy Wilder was almost a household name. It was met with commercial and critical success. Although this movie was universally acclaimed. Stalag 17 and Sabrina.B. going on to get 4 Oscar nominations and winning one for Best Costume Design (Dick 76-78). Meanwhile Sabrina was a romantic comedy released in 1954 about a love triangle between a rich playboy. the movie quickly became a great success. his brother. Sunset Boulevard quickly became an American classic and a thrilling. cynical reflection of show business as a whole. and Best Music (Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture).

A. released in 1957. with their next movie being the adaptation of the Agatha Christie courtroom mystery Witness for the Prosecution. The two continued to work together.director was a 1955 movie entitled The Seven Year Itch. Though this movie mostly just was a star vehicle for Marilyn Monroe with little critical acclaim. Love in the Afternoon is about a middle-aged playboy who falls in love with the daughter of a private detective set to catch him in an affair (Hopp 114). it got an Oscar nomination for Best Effects (Hopp 108). It became a huge success commercially in part due to Marilyn Monroe and critically. Although this film wasn’t a breathtaking success commercially or critically. The Seven Year Itch told the story of a man who his tempted by his beautiful neighbor played by Monroe. The movie was a great success. The Seven Year Itch was huge in the box office (Dick 79-82). The two decided to work together. Their next film went in a new direction in the form of the 1959 slapstick comedy entitled Some Like It Hot. After The Spirit of St. This helped fund many of the future films Wilder would go on to put out. Similarly to The Major and the Minor. This was Wilder’s first Cinemascope film and a huge success. quickly becoming collaborators on several films starting with the 1957 romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon. The Apartment was about a man lending his apartment to his coworkers in an attempt to move up the corporate ladder but ends up falling in love. Diamond. Wilder met a charismatic writer named I. going on to get nominated for 6 Oscars (Hopp 120). Louis. Some Like It Hot was about two men who flee the state disguised as women only to run into problems. Starring Marilyn Monroe in a now iconic role. the 1957 work entitled The Spirit of St.L. Their next film was the critically acclaimed 1960 romantic comedy The Apartment. Louis. the ridiculous disguises made this movie a silly slapstick film. was a biographical film about Charles Lindbergh and his life. His next film. This movie became a massive success for the . getting nominated for 6 Oscars and eventually winning one for Best Costume Design (Hopp 126).

It was nominated for an Oscar for best Black and White Cinematography (Hopp 138). the two adapted the comedic one-act play One. Best Set Decoration (Black and White). Wilder went on to make The Front Page in 1974 after being signed by Universal. In 1969. After The Front Page came Fedora. Afterwards. Sikov). After Irma la Douce. This movie was followed by The Fortune Cookie in 1966. Best Director. The Fortune Cookie was a romantic comedy and although it was released to favorable reviews. This was most likely the true end of Wilder’s successful career. it was a flop commercially. There was also much less punch in the 1972 romantic comedy Avanti! After Avanti! flopped commercially. Although it was an interesting adaptation of the character of Sherlock Holmes. getting nominated for 3 Oscars and winning one for Best Music (Hopp 138). the two wrote Kiss Me. Stupid. and Best Film Editing (Hopp 135). in 1963 the two released a romantic comedy entitled Irma la Douce. which was a panned romantic comedy about a piano teacher who sends his beautiful wife to sell his music to a nightclub released in 1964 (Madsen 74). it is missing some of the cynical punch known from Wilder. After The Apartment. is a satire about capitalism and communism. Many critics say Irma la Douce was Wilder’s last successful film before a string of failures (Madsen. Two Three which. with Walter Matthau eventually going on to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Madsen 76). the 1970 adventure movie entitled The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately it flopped just like The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and Avanti!. Irma la Douce was about an ex-cop who has a relationship with a prostitute and tries to help her end her career. It still was nominated for 4 Oscars. at its core. a romance movie about a . Armstrong. getting nominated for 10 Oscars and winning one for Best Motion Picture. which had an impact on the films he would go on to write and direct. This film was another in a string of successful films directed by Wilder.two. Best Writing. This is evident in his next film. his former collaborator Charles Brackett died.

Although this film can be seen as a slight return to his cynical style. His films will surely be analyzed and praised from film fans and scholars for centuries to come. Wilder was able to see how much he was appreciated in the film world. it was much harder for him to make this film as Universal rejected his idea. it was also his last film. However. . several lifetime achievement awards were given to him. after seeing his last two movies flop. so the return was bittersweet. Billy Wilder was a great filmmaker and a great writer who influenced several future filmmakers with his several stories of romance and his cynical outlook on life. the Academy of Arts and Sciences. Buddy Buddy is about an assassin who is supposed to kill a gangster but ends up befriending a suicidal man who ends up helping him in his assassination. Appreciation flowed in from sources like the American Film Institute. This was good since he was a great filmmaker and a true auteur with his cynical view on life coming through more or less in all of his films. After Wilder officially retired in 1981. and Cannes.Hollywood producer who tries to lure an actress out of retirement. Before he died in 1998. Wilder’s final film would end up being the 1981 comedy entitled Buddy Buddy.

Two Three (1961) Irma la Douce (1963) Kiss Me.Filmography (as a Director only) Mauvaise Graine (1934) The Major and the Minor (1942) Five Graves to Cairo (1943) Double Indemnity (1944) The Lost Weekend (1945) The Emperor Waltz (1948) A Foreign Affair (1948) Sunset Boulevard (1950) Ace in the Hole (1951) Stalag 17 (1953) Sabrina (1954) The Seven Year Itch (1955) The Spirit of St. Stupid (1964) The Fortune Cookie (1966) The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) Avanti! (1972) The Front Page (1974) Fedora (1978) Buddy Buddy (1981) . Louis (1957) Love in the Afternoon (1957) Witness for the Prosecution (1957) Some Like it Hot (1959) The Apartment (1960) One.

com/watch?v=j-tefK9hkuM http://www.com/watch?v=cRta_ko0XGU http://www.youtube.youtube.com/watch?v=S3wjJcuGsVE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkWt84F7FY0 http://www.youtube.youtube.com/watch?v=fJgC549mpRk .youtube.http://www.com/watch?v=2OhdD5n405I http://www.

Print. Print. Ed. Billy Wilder in Hollywood. Dick. American Film Realist. Billy Wilder: the Cinema of Wit 1906-2002 : the Complete Films. 2000. Holt. 1969. Maurice. Print. New York: Da Capo.Works Cited Armstrong. Sikov. New York: Knopf. Hopp. Kevin. Print. Billy Wilder. On Sunset Boulevard: the Life and times of Billy Wilder. Print. 1996. 1977. Print. Wilder Times: the Life of Billy Wilder. New York: H. New York: Hyperion. Bernard F. Print. Glenn. 1998. Billy. Billy Wilder. Jefferson. Taschen. Billy Wilder. Axel. Print. New York: Putnam. NC: McFarland. Bloomington: Indiana UP. Lally. and Cameron Crowe. Zolotow. . Conversations with Wilder. Madsen. 1996. 1999. Richard. 2003. Wilder.

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