Hepburn plays the title character, a shy girl who's desperately in love with David Larrabee (William Holden), a rakish Long Island playboy whose too busy chasing skirts and getting married to notice the wispy chauffeur's daughter. Nearly suicidal over David's lack of attention, she reluctantly goes to cooking school in Paris for a couple of years. It's time well spent. She meets a wealthy baron, gets a great new wardrobe, and secures some self-confidence. "I've learned how to live of the world and in the world," she writes her father before leaving Paris.
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Billy Wilder made Ace in the Hole as a follow-up to the acclaimed Sunset Boulevard, essentially writing his own ticket in Hollywood. The story he opted to make was a cruel indictment of the American media, one which has only become more accurate and biting over the years. The film opens with reporter Chuck Tatum, a refugee from big city newspapers who's now stuck in a desolate New Mexico town. Desperate to get back on top (and earn enough money to feed his drinking habit), he stumbles upon the perfect story after toiling away for a miserable year in the sticks: A treasure hunter (a looter, if you will) has gotten stuck in a cave-in in some old Indian caves. Guy in a well: That'll sell papers, right?
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Sunset Boulevard starts out telling one story -- about a down-on-his-luck writer and serious financial trouble -- and ends up telling another -- about an insane and faded silent-film star who lives in a decrepit old mansion on the titular boulevard. (Sunset Blvd. just doesn't look the same these days, does it.)
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To be sure, Tony Curtis thinks he looks like Cary Grant in his sailor uniform but he really looks more like Charles Nelson Reilly, and Marilyn is visibly, obviously trashed out of her gourd for the entire picture, but hey, it was fun in the sun at the Hotel Del Coronado in the Prohibition era, and even the mob on their collective tails can't put a dent in the fun.
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