In honour of the new digital restoration of his classic Some Like It Hot screening here from Friday 2 November we celebrate the genius of Billy Wilder, one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of the Hollywood Golden Age.
Born in 1906 in Sucha, Austria in what is now Poland Wilder fled Nazi Germany to come to Hollywood as a screenwriter, and penned some of the most sophisticated comedy romances of the thirties. He often claimed that he became a director to stop others butchering his scripts, and co-wrote all of his films, most often in tandem with his regular writing partners I. A. L. Diamond and Charles Brackett.
Wilder only directed 25 films in a 40 year long career, but the emphasis was on quality he authored a steady stream of genre-hopping classics, from sophisticated romantic comedies Sabrina and The Apartment to savage media indictment Ace in the Hole and Double Indemnity, the quintessential film noir.
Perhaps best of all, the biting Sunset Boulevard remains arguably the greatest movie ever made about Hollywood, full of endlessly quotable Oscar-winning dialogue and daring narrative leaps, and will surely endure as long as cinema itself