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Some Like It WilderThe Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder$
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Gene D. Phillips

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125701

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125701.001.0001

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Kiss Me, Stupid and the Fortune Cookie

(p.269) 15 Grifters
Some Like It Wilder


University Press of Kentucky

Billy Wilder offended the Catholic Legion of Decency mightily when he made Kiss Me, Stupid. It was definitely not family entertainment, nor could it be retooled into a family film. The Legion of Decency took a dim view of this film. It was also viewed in Europe not as a prurient movie but as a film aimed at thoughtful adults. When one sees Kiss Me, Stupid today, now that the controversy has died down, one can see that it is a knockabout farce and that is all that it ever was. Moreover, Wilder and Diamond developed a scenario called The Fortune Cookie, about Harry Hinkle, a TV cameraman accidentally knocked cold by a football player, Luther “Boom Boom” Jackson, during a game. Harry allows his brother-in-law, “Whiplash Willie” Gingrich, a crooked lawyer, to lure him into filing a fraudulent insurance claim to acquire the fortune he needs to win back his greedy ex-wife. It is the first of three Wilder films that are linked by an exploration of male friendship. Wilder was relieved that he experienced no censorship problems with The Fortune Cookie.

Keywords:   Kiss Me, Stupid, The Fortune Cookie, Billy Wilder, Catholic Legion of Decency, Diamond, Harry Hinkle, Luther Boom Boom Jackson, Whiplash Willie Gingrich

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