Billy Wilder Speaks (2006)

by | Oct 30, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Billy Wilder Speaks (2006)

A film by Volker Schlöndorff
Studio: Kino International K497
Video: 1.33:1 color & B&W
Audio: PCM mono
Subtitles: English
Extras: (over 100 min. worth total)  Additional interview footage with on-camera commentary by Schlöndorff (70 min.), Gallery of Billy Wilder trailers, Filmography of Wilder, Essay on making the film by Schlöndorff
Length: 71 minutes
Rating: ****

One of the best-liked directors in Hollywood, and creator of such classics as Sunset Blvd., Sabrina, The Apartment and perhaps the funniest feature film ever – Some Like It Hot; that’s Billy Wilder, who immigrated from Austria and within a few months was already writing film scripts for feature films. Schlöndorff – director of such gems as The Tin Drum – did a series of talking-head interviews with Wilder as he talked animatedly about his six-decades-plus career in films. The stipulation was made that the films would not be distributed until after his death, but Schlöndorff did show them to the older director. Wilder commented that one should never use a backscratcher on oneself during a video interview – which is what you see him doing.

Some of the stories and details about Hollywood celebrities are great fun to hear. Who knew that Humphrey Bogart tended to spit when he spoke, and you didn’t want to stand too near him?  Wilder found Marilyn Monroe even more frustrating than usual to work with on Some Like It Hot, but it was only later that he found out she was pregnant during the shoot. We are shown specific clips he is talking about, such as when they hid slips of paper with her lines written on them in drawers of a chest she was opening.  Wilder tells us how he survived and became a success in the movie capital. Clips from some of his films which I haven’t seen stimulated me to rent them ASAP – Love in the Afternoon, among them.

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