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Wild and crazy times
Categories: Film, Utrinque Paratus

Honoring the passing of Billy Wilder

By Leigh E. Rich

Gone, but with an extensive list of movie credits of which most have heard if not seen, legendary director Billy Wilder is certainly not forgotten. The nonagenarian’s passing earlier this year gives one pause, and what better way to spend that moment of silence than at the Denver Public Library’s second annual Summer Film Series opening tonight with a six-week tribute to the Austria-Hungarian born Wilder?

Casting aside plans of becoming a lawyer and taking up roots as a reporter first in Vienna and then Berlin, Wilder jammed his foot in the revolving movie-making door as a screenwriter in 1929. Hitler’s rise to power in the early 1930s forced the Jewish writer to flee Germany, and he eventually wound his way into the headquarters and hearts of Hollywood with screenplays such as Sabrina, Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, A Song Is Born, and Witness for the Prosecution, along with Academy Award-winning films such as The Lost Weekend, The Apartment, and Sunset Boulevard.

The DPL’s free film series kick offs tonight with Wilder and Raymond Chandler’s noir classic Double Indemnity, about an adulterous wife who plots the murder of her husband for the insurance money. It stars Fred MacMurray (of My Three Sons fame), Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson. The series continues chronologically through Wilder’s career every Wednesday through July 31. Admission is free. 

Rich, L. E. (2002, June 26). Wild and crazy times: Honoring the passing of Billy Wilder. CU-Denver Advocate.

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