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Ace in the Hole

IMDb 8.1 111 min
Gene Evans, Kirk Douglas, Iron Eyes Cody, Frank Cady, Lewis Martin, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall, Richard Benedict, Ray Teal
Billy Wilder
United States
3.8 / 6 times
Chuck Tatum has been a reporter for the small town and thus "small" newspaper, the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin, for one year. He has over the years worked for the big newspapers back east, but was systematically fired from each of those jobs for reasons from libel to cheating with the boss' wife to excessive alcohol consumption. Irrespective of those firings, Chuck knows the newspaper business and how to write a sensational front page story. He was up front with the Sun-Bulletin's owner and editor-in-chief, Jacob Q. Boot, that he wanted this job for an unknown temporary period until he wrote the next big story, which could catapult him back to the big times and a job back at one of those big city newspapers. He was also up front with principled Boot, a lawyer by trade and thus a stickler for the truth, that if it is a slow news day, he could manufacture a newsworthy story. It is on his way to cover the latest in a long line of small stories that Chuck stumbles across a situation that he believes he could spin into that big story. In the small hamlet of Escudero three hours outside of Albuquerque, Leo Minosa, the owner/operator of the local trading post, has been caught pinned underneath some debris in a cave-in. The cave a Native Indian site, Leo had systematically been stripping it of its native artifacts for sale at the trading post, always without incident until now. After entering the cave and assessing that Leo on the most part is all right except for not being able to get out from under the massive amount of debris, Chuck begins to take control of the situation for his own benefit, bringing the newspaper's impressionable young photographer, Herbie Cook, along for the ride. In Chuck's perfect world, he would be the only reporter to gain access to the cave, and would keep Leo in this situation as long as humanly possible (meaning in Chuck's eyes two weeks or thereabouts) to milk the story for all it's worth for Leo ultimately to emerge from the cave relatively unscathed back into the arms of his loving wife, Lorraine Minosa. To achieve most of this, he has to be able to manipulate the corrupt local sheriff, Gus Kretzer, who, in his professional capacity without a local geotechnical expert to gauge the cave stability, is to control what happens at the cave to get Leo out safely. The other issue for Chuck is that Lorraine is far from the loving wife, she an opportunistic young woman who hates her life and sees Leo's current predicament as the perfect opportunity to take whatever cash on hand and leave him for good.
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