Although his career spanned fifty years and included more than fifty films, Austrian-American film director Billy Wilder (19062002) may be best known for the legendary shot of Marilyn Monroe's dress billowing over a subway grating in The Seven Year Itch (1955). This "shot seen round the world" is representative not only of Hollywood's golden era of cinema but also of one of its most prolific and brilliant directors. Wilder, whose filmography includes such classics as Sunset Boulevard (1950), Sabrina (1954), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), and Some Like It Hot (1959), is often remembered for his versatility, biting wit, and passion for challenging social and moral conventions.
Author Gene D. Phillips departs from the traditional biography in Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder, offering new insights into the acclaimed director's professional and private life. In preparation for the book, Phillips conducted personal interviews with Wilder and other key players from the legendary director's life and times. Phillips's unique combination of analysis and biographical detail brings Wilder to life, as both an artist and man.
Phillips traces Wilder's path from Berlin, where he worked as a scriptwriter for one of the city's largest studios, to Hollywood, where he would quickly establish himself as a premier film director. Forming a partnership with writer-producer Charles Brackett, Wilder directed the classic films Five Graves to Cairo (1943), Double Indemnity (1945), and The Lost Weekend (1945), which earned Academy Awards for best picture, best director, and best screenplay. During the 1960s, Wilder continued to direct and produce controversial comedies, including Kiss Me Stupid (1964) and The Apartment (1960). The Apartment brought Wilder another round of Oscars for best picture, best director, and best screenplay.
Wilder's maverick approach and independent artistic vision pushed boundaries and ensured his legacy as one of the Hollywood greats. Sharply written, Some Like It Wilder serves as a comprehensive companion to Wilder's films, offering a personalized and heartfelt account of the life and genius of this compelling director.