At the tail end of a year that has delivered a calamitous number of celebrity deaths, Spartacus continues to fight the good fight. Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, today turned 100.
There are innumerable ways to slice and dice Douglas’ accomplishments as an actor and producer, humanitarian, author and more. From our point of view, today’s concerns about the rise of fake news point directly back to the film Douglas made with Billy Wilder in 1951. Ace in the Hole is, essentially, a fake-news story, about Chuck Tatum, a journalist who desperately makes it up as he goes along in hopes of reviving a derailed newspaper career.
It’s interesting to see the film referred to as a bonafide classic. It certainly wasn’t out of the gate, struggling at the box office and taking many more years to gain critical appreciation. It’s a reminder of how stories, both real and imagined, can attain new vantage points with the passage of time.
Orlando Sentinel TV critic Hal Boedeker ranks Ace in the Hole as Douglas’ fifth best film. The pungent drama is popping up on other lists today as well, from an “Eight Best” here to a “5 Great Films” there and many more in between. Happy Birthday, Mr. Douglas!