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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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Twilight Years

Twilight Years

Fedora and Buddy Buddy

(p.323) 18 Twilight Years
Some Like It Wilder


University Press of Kentucky

Billy Wilder and Diamond collaborated on the screenplay for Fedora. The response to Fedora was sharply divided: European critics loved it. American reviewers did not cotton to it, and some sneered or laughed inappropriately. It did poorly at the box office after its initial engagements in big cities and did not reach a wide audience elsewhere. Although Fedora received unenthusiastic notices when it appeared, like The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, it has over the years earned a solid critical reputation as an elegant, entertaining film that reaches the lofty realm of tragedy. In the wake of Universal's vetoing Fedora, Wilder was afraid that the major studios had written him off as over the hill. Much to his surprise, Jay Weston, a producer at MGM, invited him to make Buddy Buddy. The film was to be based on a French play by Francis Weber, a boulevard farce titled L'emmerdeur. Wilder's Buddy Buddy is a black comedy about the friendship that gradually develops between a tough Mafia hit man (Walter Matthau) and a woebegone individual (Jack Lemmon) who contemplates suicide after his wife leaves him. This film was also his last picture.

Keywords:   Fedora, Buddy Buddy, Billy Wilder, Diamond, Jay Weston, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

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