Masters of Cinema Series: Billy Wilder
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Billy Wilder was an undisputed master of American comedy, taking situation comedy to the edge of the absurd in one of his most famous films, Some Like it Hot (1959). But he also made pessimistic melodramas, including Sunset Boulevard (1950), in which Gloria Swanson gives a moving performance as a fallen star, and a few fine examples of film noir, such as Double Indemnity (1944) and Witness for the Prosecution (1957). Wilder worked with the greatest stars, and his filmography is studded with classic scenes, including Marilyn Monroe holding her billowing skirt over the subway outlet in The Seven Year Itch (1955), Jack Lemmon draining spaghetti with a tennis racket in The Apartment (1960) and Shirley MacLaine as a Parisian streetwalker in Irma la Douce (1963). His humour is often incisive and his vision of the world somewhat cynical, but all his characters experience a moment of truth and, for this reason, Billy Wilder is prim a great moralist.