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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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The Perfect Blendship

The Perfect Blendship

The Front Page and Avanti!

(p.307) 17 The Perfect Blendship
Some Like It Wilder


University Press of Kentucky

When Jennings Lang, a vice president at Universal, by sheer coincidence inquired whether Billy Wilder would like to direct a remake of The Front Page, Wilder accepted enthusiastically. He was drawn to the project in part because male friendship plays an important role in The Front Page, just as it does in The Fortune Cookie and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. Furthermore, Wilder's own experience as a journalist would be reflected in the movie. The Front Page evokes the screwball comedies of the 1930s. It is laced with brittle humor and at times approximates the rough-and-tumble spirit of the golden age of screwball—as when the cop cars make a madcap dash through the streets of Chicago, dutifully following up one ridiculous false lead after another as to the whereabouts of Earl Williams. Wilder made another film with Jack Lemmon around this time. This time he turned to Avanti! by Samuel Taylor. It is now thought to be a more sophisticated and tasteful film than it was when it first appeared. This film was the last movie in Wilder's contract with the Mirisch Company and its distributor, UA.

Keywords:   The Front Page, Avanti!, Billy Wilder, male friendship, Jack Lemmon, Samuel Taylor, Jennings Lang, Mirisch Company, Universal, UA

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