Ace in the Hole (1951)

Now that I’ve finally seen this, I wonder how much of its reputation stems from it having been unavailable for years; a flop (twice) in 1951, it didn’t get a home video release until 2007 (never even released on VHS) and seems not to have had made many public appearances otherwise. Watching it for the first time recently, it struck me that it actually is indeed about as scabrous as it’s said to be; the passage of nearly 60 years hasn’t withered the evident force of its bite. To that extent I suppose it does live up to the hype. But I fear it’s a lot easier film to admire from a distance than it is to like, let alone love. I can see what the fuss is about, but I’m not sure I share in it.

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