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Today in Movie History: July 6

  Film noir may be American cinema’s greatest contribution to the canon, and they don’t come any noir-ier than Double Indemnity: Billy Wilder’s masterpeice of greed, deceit and murder. Wilder fled the rise of the Nazis to come to Hollywood, and the darkness seeping out of Europe can be felt in the story of an insurance agent (Fred MacMurray) scheming with an ambitious …

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Today in Movie History: June 29

In these charged times, an ethical media is more important than ever. The key word there being “ethical,” which is where the problems arise. Billy Wilder knew the score long before Fox News and supermarket tabloids. Ace in the Hole, the caustic story of just what one newspaper man will do to sell some papers, hit theaters today in 1951, …

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Today in Movie History: June 15

It’s a big day today, and we’ll start with the most recent. Amid all the hubbub over 2008’s The Dark Knight, it’s easy to forget just what an amazing job its predecessor, Batman Begins, did after Tim Burton’s singular-but-flawed vision and the depressing crassness of the Joel Schumacher Batman films. Bat-fans were hungry for the kind of lean, grounded tale that Christopher Nolan …

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Today in Movie History: June 3

As Billy Wilder comedies go, The Seven Year Itch never packed the punch of, say, Some Like It Hot or The Apartment. It’s amusing enough, but the Hays Code pulled the teeth from the Broadway play on which it was based, about a married man tempted by… well shit, by Marilyn Freaking Monroe. That leaves it minor Wilder at best, save for that …

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Today in Movie History: March 29

It sounds funny saying something like “the last word on guys wearing dresses,” but here we are. Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, often cited as the greatest comedy ever made, opened today in 1959: securing stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis a spot in pop culture immortality, as well as giving Marilyn Monroe the best showcase she ever had. …