Billy WIlder


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Quick facts:
22. June 1906 - 27. March 2002
Birth name: Samuel Wilder
From: Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire
Nickname: The Viennese Pixie

has always maintained that movies are “authored,” and has always felt that much of a film’s direction ideally should take place in the writing[..] 
The Paris Review

Billy started out to become a lawyer, but early decided to throw that idea away, to go work as a reporter for a Viennese news paper. He didn't break into the film industry before 1929, as a writer for many Gernan films. But he ended up moving, first to Pairs and then emigrate to America, at the same time as Adolf Hitler came to power. Because he could see that his Jewish ancestry would be a problem, if he were to stay. 

The films by Billy Wilder is known to be more heard of and known by the mass, than Billy is himself. You might have heard of films such as, The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes or The Seven Year Itch. Well, if you did not already know, these were all produced/directed and co-written by Billy himself. 

To bring one of his many films forward in the spotlight, lets take a look at The Seven Year Itch. I spent this Saturday morning watching the film. To get to know Billy a bit more, and to see how he worked as a writer-directer. 

In short: The Seven Year Itch, 1955

It¨s a steamy summer in New York city and this scandalous, sexy comedy heats things up even more! A married man (Tom Ewell), whose wife and son are away for the summer, has his fidelity put to the test when a seductive starlet (Marilyn Monroe) moves in upstairs. Keeping his marriage vows in the face of her flirtations proves though when challenged by the notorious "seven year itch". Faced with this provocative problem, he¨s a victim to an outrageous mating dance filled with hilarious comedy! Directed by Billy Wilder, The Seven Year Itch has been heralded by critics and fans alike as one of the quintessential comedies of all time.  
 - DVD-cover 
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I found this film to be an interesting piece, and I like the colors in the film as they to me represent the "old days" back in the 1950s. Wilder is known to use elegant dramatization of his characters through some of the key elements we learned from Steve Coombes, - action and dialogue. Billy uses distinctive dialogue, and a sour/sweet or misanthropic view of humanity-qualities. And his films tend to feature a sharp wit and characters who frequently try to change their identity IMDb

The Seven Year Itch - Trailer 

Wilders ideas came to him as he would be in the bathroom, and he kept a little black book with him that he put all sorts of entries, form dialogue he overheard, character ideas, a bit of a background and some boy meets girl scenarios. And he would often use his black book to develop his ideas. 

The Seven Year Itch claims to be the funniest comedy since laughter began. That might have been the fact back in 1955, but as of today personally, I can not quite agree with that. It certainly has elements of humor, but if it would work as well as a comedy, was it to be released today, I dont know. Then the dialogue, and actions would have had to get a little make over. 

Another thing I¨d like to comment on, is the use of dialogue in this particular film. I feel like it definitely has a weight of the 50¨s in it. By that, I refer to the fact that the film has a heavily amount of dialogue in it. Which makes it more "told not shown",  and that takes away a little bit of the excitement. 

Billy Wilder, one of American cinema’s premiere writer-directors.

In the story the action takes place in mainly two locations, his office and his home. Which is what we have learned a story should do. This indicates that Billy uses the classic story telling set up, and uses this to pursue and realize his elegant dramatizations. And he makes it work!

This particular film is an inspiration to me and my project for this unit, as it highlights and portrays the typical set up in story telling. And I will use it as an example of how a story should build up. I also like the way Wilder has managed to make the character develop. And the simple use of cinematography inspires me to think likewise for my project. 

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