Ace In the Hole

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Like the third volume in the series Jokers Wild , this volume uses the format of a mosaic novel, where several writers write individual storylines which were then edited together into one novel length story.

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Following many years of inadequate recognition and inaction, the plight of the unfortunate victims of the wild card virus , the jokers , now forms a large part of the Democratic campaign. With this backdrop, numerous aces , jokers and nats converge on Atlanta to support or attempt to kill various candidates, lobby for more specific causes, or just create and revel in chaos.

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Cancel Save. Published By. Tatum also directs Kretzer to prevent any other reporters from encroaching on the story, keeping it as his exclusive. Lorraine Jan Sterling , the victim's wife, goes along with the reporter's scheme. She is eager to leave Leo and their struggling business, a combination trading post and restaurant in the middle of nowhere.

Thanks to the publicity Tatum generates, she experiences a financial windfall, particularly from thousands of tourists who come to witness the rescue. Herbie Cook Robert Arthur , the newspaper's young photographer initially on assignment with Leo, slowly loses his idealism as he follows Tatum's lead and envisions himself selling pictures to Look or Life.

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Thousands flock to the town. The rescue site literally becomes an all-day carnival with rides, entertainment, games and songs about Leo. Tatum sets up shop at the trading post and begins drinking again. He takes up with Lorraine and is greeted heroically by the crowd each time he returns from visiting Leo in the cave. After five days of drilling, things get worse. A visiting doctor diagnoses Leo with a grim bout of pneumonia.

His only chance for survival is by being rescued in 12 hours. Remorseful, Tatum sends a news flash, saying that Leo will now be rescued by shoring up the cave walls during the hour period. But when he speaks to the contractor, he learns that the vibration from drilling has made this impossible.

Tatum's mistreatment of Lorraine reaches its boiling point with his physical and mental abuse, leaving her to stab him in self-defense with a pair of scissors, mortally wounding him. Tatum gets the local priest, and takes him into the cave to administer the Last Rites.


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Leo subsequently dies and Tatum, guilt ridden over what's transpired, orders the crew to stop drilling. Tatum announces to the crowd publicly of Leo's death, telling them to pack up and leave. Subsequently, many of the reporters that have come to the town, former colleagues with contempt for Tatum already, immediately get on their newswires and report Leo's death.

As the carnival breaks down, the public packs up and moves out en masse, Lorraine is amongst the departing as she misses her bus and tries hitching a ride with one of the passing cars. Tatum has neglected to send copy to the New York editor, who is furious that other newspapers have hit the streets with the news about Leo. Tatum is fired and the rival reporters come to Tatum's room to gloat before he kicks them out. Drunk and dying, Tatum calls the editor and tries to confess to killing Leo by delaying the rescue, but the editor hangs up on him. Tatum corrals Herbie into leaving immediately in their car and they barely reach the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin.

Tatum makes a dramatic entrance into the paper's offices, calling for Boot.

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Tatum asks him "How'd you like to make yourself a thousand dollars a day, Mr. I'm a thousand dollar a day newspaperman.


  1. Phineas F. Bresee.
  2. Air Force Hits Recruitment Goals; DODIG Digs Into USAFA Assaults; Rescue Airmen Deploy Overseas.
  3. Seen and Heard!
  4. Equine Acute Abdomen.
  5. Hollywood Summer Nights / Ace in the Hole (1951)!
  6. You can have me for nothin'. The film's plot was inspired by two real-life events. The first involved W. Floyd Collins , who in was trapped inside Sand Cave, Kentucky , following a landslide. A Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal , jumped on the story by dispatching reporter William Burke Miller to the scene.

    Miller's enterprising coverage turned the tragic episode into a national event and earned the writer a Pulitzer Prize. Collins's name is cited in the film as an example of a cave-in victim who becomes a media sensation. The second event took place in April Three-year-old Kathy Fiscus of San Marino, California , fell into an abandoned well and, during a rescue operation that lasted several days, thousands of people arrived to watch the action unfold.

    In both cases, the victims died before they were rescued. After the film was completed, Paramount charged admission to the set.

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    In the original script, Tatum colluded with the local sheriff. Joseph Breen of the Hays Code office strongly objected to the on-screen depiction of a corrupt law enforcement officer and insisted Wilder add dialogue making it clear the man eventually would be made to answer for his actions. Frank Cady 's character identifies himself as a salesman for Pacific All-Risk Insurance, a fictitious company featured in Wilder's film Double Indemnity.

    Following the film's release, Wilder was sued for plagiarism by screenwriter Victor Desny, who claimed he had contacted Wilder's secretary Rosella Stewart to propose a film based on the story of Floyd Collins in November Wilder's attorneys responded that not only did an oral plot summary not constitute a formal story submission, but the Collins case was of a historical nature and as such was not protected by copyright laws.

    Desny appealed, and in August the California Supreme Court ruled his oral submission had been legitimate.

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    At the time of its release, critics found little to admire. Wilder has let imagination so fully take command of his yarn that it presents not only a distortion of journalistic practice but something of a dramatic grotesque.

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    There isn't any denying that there are vicious newspaper men and that one might conceivably take advantage of a disaster for his own private gain. But to reckon that one could so tie up and maneuver a story of any size, while other reporters chew their fingers, is simply incredible. The Hollywood Reporter called it "ruthless and cynical Douglas enacts the heel reporter ably, giving it color to balance its unsympathetic character. Jan Sterling also is good in a role that has no softening touches, and Benedict's victim portrayal is first-rate.

    Billy Wilder's direction captures the feel of morbid expectancy that always comes out in the curious that flock to scenes of tragedy.