We continue our survey of the twenty greatest movies of the 1950s.
For a complete listing of the greatest movies of the 20, 30s and 40s, click here.
4. Ace in the Hole, 1951
A hand-embroidered motto, “Tell the Truth” sits as a dusty epitaph on the newsroom wall of an inconsequential Albuquerque newspaper where Kirk Douglas, a cynical New York reporter, hustles a job.
Sent out to cover a local rattle snake hunt, Douglas stumbles on a man trapped inside a cave, and turns it into a “human interest” story that explodes on the national scene and becomes — entertainment.
A less than glamorous job, most successful screenwriters are solitary individuals who work quietly and diligently at their craft.
But screenwriter Peter Viertel (1920 – 2007) lived the jet-set life that is the glittering exception. Born in Dresden to an artistic and assimilated Jewish family, mother Salka was a screenwriter who was Greta Garbo’s best friend. His father, Berthold Viertel, was also a prominent writer and intellectual. The family moved to Hollywood in 1928. Peter’s childhood was the stuff of dreams: weekends were spent in the company of Garbo, Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford.
Young Peter was Hollywood royalty.