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Billy Wilder

Awards | Image Credits | Links

Page 2

In 1950, Wilder wrote and directed yet another Best Picture nominee, SUNSET BOULEVARD, a cynical satire about an aging silent screen star (Gloria Swanson) who takes a fancy to a struggling writer (William Holden) and entices him to come live with her in her frozen-in-time Hollywood mansion.  Wilder won an Oscar for Best Screenplay and was nominated as Best Director for SUNSET BOULEVARD, which featured a cameo appearances by legendary directory Cecil B. DeMille.

Music Clip:

Click here"Sonata for Orchestra" (clip) by Franz Waxman (a .MP3 file).

(For help opening the above file, visit the plug-ins page.)

Back to romantic comedy, SABRINA (1954) starred Humphrey Bogart as an industry tycoon, and William Holden as his playboy younger brother, both of whom are enchanted by their chauffeur's daughter, Audrey Hepburn. This film was nominated for six Academy Awards including two nominations for Wilder: Director and Screenplay.

Often said to have given her best performances under Wilder's direction, '50s film sexpot Marilyn Monroe first worked with the director in THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH (1955), about a middle-aged husband (Tom Ewell) who fantasizes about the girl upstairs while his wife is away in the country. With a screenplay by Wilder and George Axelrod based on Axelrod's stage play, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH features the famous scene in which Monroe stands over a subway grate and lets the draft blow her white dress up.

Video Clips:

Click here "Sleep Over" (a .AVI file) with Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell (courtesy 20th Century-Fox).

Click here "The subway vent" (a .MOV file) with Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell (courtesy 20th Century-Fox).

Written, director and produced by Wilder, LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (1957) featured Audrey Hepburn as a young French cellist romanced by aging American playboy Gary Cooper, much to the chagrin of her private detective father, Maurice Chevalier.

Voted number one on the American Film Institute's list of the all-time funniest films, Wilder's prohibition-era gangster spoof SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) features Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as musicians who join an all-girl band to escape from notorious gangster 'Spats' Columbo.  Co-starring Marilyn Monroe, the film earned Wilder directing and writing nominations.

Another Best Picture of the year, THE APARTMENT (1960) is a satirical comedy-drama about the loss of individuality in corporate America starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.  In addition to the Best Picture Oscar, Wilder also took home awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay (co-written with I.A.L. Diamond).

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Awards | Image Credits | Links

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Last updated: March 10, 2011.
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