Billy Wilder's films are belt-and-suspender films: they combine the jaunty, sportif appearance of the belt-wearer with the comfortable, homespun look of the suspender-wearer. I wish I could report that the results are foolproof and unimpeachable. Actually, they fall between two wears….
[It] is time to realize that though Wilder has made some extremely skillful, effective, and, in part, even penetrating films, he has never done anything first-rate. One reason for this is, probably, insufficient artistic imagination; another, certainly, is excessive caution. (p. 23)
Wilder's formula is films that are vulgar enough to appeal to the typical movie audiences, yet spiked with just...
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