The Influence of Billy Wilder’s ACE IN THE HOLE


For many, legendary director Billy Wilder’s 1951 film Ace in the Hole is not only his best but also one of the most influential films of the last century. Unfortunately, despite its uncanny commentary on the news media that is still relevant today, it’s slightly under the radar for a lot of audiences. Because of it’s perfect mixture of brilliant filmmaking (from the cinematography to the writing to the acting, ah, Kurt Douglas) and a scathing look at the media’s influence to create a news frenzy, we’re excited to screen it here at Nitehawk this Tuesday as part of our Journalist in Film series with VICE News. But before you take our word for it, read what the likes of John Sayles, Martin Scorsese, and Chuck Bowen have to say about the film…

John Sayles (from THE DISSOLVE)
“It’s a really dark film, and it’s got Billy Wilder’s acidic view of human nature. I really reacted to the tawdriness of it, which you rarely really saw done well at the time. Kirk Douglas’ performance—one of the interesting things you see in Michael Douglas is that he’s one of the few lead actors who’s willing to play a heel, like in the Wall Street movies. And his father was the same way. Kirk Douglas could play a hero, but very often, he played a charismatic heel. You know from the start here that this guy’s too big for the world he’s landed in, and he’s going to be pretty ruthless. Film noir is a claustrophobic genre. There’s no escape in film noir. There’s a point in Miller’s Crossing where John Turturro’s character is under the gun, and he says, “Let me go, I’ll leave, I’ll go out of town,” and you wanna say, “There is no out of town in film noir! There’s only this closed system, so don’t believe him! There’s nowhere for him to go!”

With Ace In The Hole, there’s the claustrophobia of the mine, but really, the claustrophobia is in this closed, sleazy system of greedy people with their own agendas, and it’s going to end in tragedy. The only nice guy is the guy who’s trapped down at the bottom of the mine, and of course he doesn’t stand a chance if that’s the world he’s depending on to save his life.”

“This Billy Wilder film was so tough and brutal in its cynicism that it died a sudden death at the box office, and they re-released it under the title Big Carnival, which didn’t help. Chuck Tatum is a reporter who’s very modern–he’ll do anything to get the story, to make up the story! He risks not only his reputation, but also the life of this guy who’s trapped in the mine.”

Chuck Bowen (from SLATE MAGAZINE)
“Ace in the Hole appropriately opens in motion. Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) doesn’t waste time. Consideration, nuance, empathy—words that are anathema to a man who prizes action and momentum. In a striking opening shot, we see a tow truck pulling a convertible behind it as it idles into a small western town. Tatum’s sitting behind the convertible’s steering wheel, though you wouldn’t guess from his cocksure expression that he’s out of work and in dire economic straits; for him, this truck is merely a substitute for the limo he’ll inevitably return to. The truck stops in front of the Albuquerque Sun-Bulletin‘s office, and Tatum marches in and gets himself a crummy newspaper job after launching into a series of double and triple entendres that establish him as a brilliant reporter who can’t work for anybody. Talent, after all, only means so much when you’re drunk or screwing your boss’s wife, though Tatum intends to prove that hunger, more so than even talent, trumps any setback or limitation.”…more

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Smokey and the Cocktail: Our Burt Reynolds Cocktail Menu

Reynolds As BanditLike a Trans Am ripping through the Alabama countryside or a canoe careening down a Georgia river, our Fall cocktail menu has arrived at the bar and it’s looking mighty handsome this year. Why is it more handsome than usual you’re wondering? Well, only because we’ve dedicated it to the finest mustachioed gentleman to come out of Georgia since Rhett Butler: Burt Reynolds.

That’s right, all of our fancy cocktails downstairs at the bar have been dedicated to the Bandit himself, and they’re strong enough that a couple will leave you whoopin’ like Hooper.

Below, our bar manager Nick Dodge has outlined three of the cocktails. (more…)

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Billy Wilder & the Eames Chair


Did you know that Billy Wilder (director of our Tuesday Journalists in Film screening of ACE IN THE HOLE) was pals with Charles & Ray Eames? So much so that they even designed a chair special for him…

“A man of my reputation simply can’t afford to have something that looks like a casting couch in his office,” Wilder said. “It’s too obvious a symbol of lechery.” Charles and Ray designed an 18″ wide leather and aluminum bench, large enough to sleep on but narrow enough to prevent long snoozes. Wilder would sleep with his arms crossed; As he sank into deeper sleep his arms would fall to his sides, gently and naturally waking him up. And it wasn’t lecherous at all, unless, Wilder quipped “you had a girlfriend shaped like a Giacometti, [then] it would be ideal.” via Core 77 


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Notes on the Final Girl: Nitehawk celebrates women in horror this October


“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.” ― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

Nitehawk’s Final Girl program celebrates fifty years of women in horror film by highlighting the iconic Final Girl. From Georges Franju’s depiction of beauty obsession in Eyes Without a Face (1960) to Adam Wingard’s role-reversing You’re Next (2011), this series focuses on the depiction of the woman’s role within the fictional realm of horror cinema and its association with the reality of daily life. The series eschews the popular bimbo slasher film stereotype by highlighting iconic female characters who experience a revelatory journey from victim to hero. Her on-screen transformation is hardly ever pretty, brutal by sheer necessity, but it realizes an important power shift: the stereotypical male gaze turns into her gaze and then to ours. Embodying Shirley Jackson’s description of Hill House, the Final Girl’s insane break from an “absolute reality” means that it is up to her, our heroine, to restore order when the familiar world becomes an overwhelming space.


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Say Hello to Our New Fall Menu!


Like clockwork, the first cool, late summer breeze rolls through Brooklyn and everyone starts FREAKING OUT ABOUT FALL. Right now, it’s kind of an inter-season. A time when it’s chilly in the shade, so you dust off a jacket that’s too heavy, buy a pumpkin late and then march right out into the sun where it’s still 80 degrees. You may feel silly now, but rest assured, you won’t feel like the fool for long. It’s comin’, man. We’re already playing horror movies and coming up with new food. Fall is comin’ baby and it’s gonna be sweet.

Below we’ve put together a quick look at three new dishes from our fall menu, which is getting a head to toe revamp this weekend. New popcorn, new salads, new beers, new cocktails – the works. Check it out:


italian sausage, beef, sun-dried tomato marinara, gruyere, grilled bread
Espositos Italian Sausage and ground beef are mixed with egg and bread crumb, slow cooked in a marinara made with sun-dried tomatoes, red wine and sage. Three meatballs are baked with the marinara and topped with Gruyere cheese.

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Q&A: ROCKY Director John G. Avildsen

After we watched Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed beat the snot out of one-another, we were delighted to host the film’s Oscar-winning director, John G. Avildsen, for a Q&A. Avildsen sat down with our own John Woods and discussed how they made the boxing look real (a 32-page “ballet” written by Stallone), and how some of the film’s best quiet moments came about because they were cheap to shoot.



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Post No Bills: King Kong

The Deuce: King Kong (1976)
Thursday, September 11; 9:30pm | Buy Tickets

A lot of things have been called the Eighth Wonder of the World: Natural Bridge in Virginia; the Terra cotta Army in China; Andre the Giant. Wondrous brutes they are, none can hold a candle to the true Eighth Wonder, Kong a fearsome gigantic ape with a soft spot for the ladies.

The eighty-year-old ape is the crowned King of both Skull Island and Manhattan; and over the course of his bizarre film history he’s done battle with dinosaurs, airplanes, military choppers, Godzilla and a robot version of himself named Mechani-Kong.

Below, we’ve put together a large collection of posters chronicling Kong’s history, from his King-making 1933 appearance through his bizarre trek to Japan and then back through the gutter of trashy ’70s Manhattan

King Kong (1933)kong 33 10 (more…)

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Kurt Fuller introduces WAYNE’S WORLD

Kurt Fuller is a That Guy actor, and he’s been one of our favorite Those Guys for years now. He has a funny That Guy role in Wayne’s World, playing Rob Lowe’s subservient assistant Russell, so when we got a tip that he would be in town the same weekend as our Brunch screening of Wayne’s World, we were stoked to have him introduce. In his intro, Fuller talks how Wayne’s World holds up, Rob Lowe’s hair and working with the fiercely competitive SNL crowd. He also shouts. It’s awesome.

Introduction: KURT FULLER INTRODUCES WAYNE’S WORLD from Nitehawk Cinema on Vimeo.

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Nitehawk ’94: September at Nitehawk

1994-trailerimageEvery year, we’ve taken a liking to peering back 20 years into the past to see what good stuff we find, and it’s always a treat. 1994, it turns out, was a good year…. well kind of. It was actually a rather ugly year: there was OJ, there as Tonya Harding, there was Newt Gingrich. Times were tough, but the movies? Choice. This month we’re dedicating both our Brunch and Midnite features to ’94, but we also have a great Nitehawk Nasty lined up, a pair of Music Driven features, and whole host of other stuff.

simpsCafe: Simpsons Club
Mondays; 10pm | Free
After a long Summer off drinking Skittlebrau alone, we’re bringing our weekly Simpsons Club back to the cafe. Starting on Labor Day, we’ll be heading back to the early seasons again, and pepper in some late season gems to keep things funky. Of course, we’ll still have original commercials, shorts and extras every week; plus, it’s free, so really there’s no excuse not to come out. I guess you could always just watch FXX, but… No! Wait! COME BACK

shallow1994: Shallow Grave (1994, Danny Boyle)
Friday, September 5 & Saturday, September 6; Midnite | 35mm | Buy Tickets
Danny Boyle’s feature-length debut, Shallow Grave, features baby faced Ewan McGreggor, Christopher Eccleston and Kiwi actress Kerry Fox as a group of flatmates whose friendship gets tested by a big ass box of dirty money. There’s a problem, though: they have to dispose of their new roommates corpse in order to keep it. Makin’ paper’s never easy, is it? (more…)

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Quotes: Antonioni on THE PASSENGER


Michelangelo Antonioni on his main character, John Locked played by Jack Nicholson, in his 1975 film THE PASSENGER (screening Tuesday, August 26 in 35mm as part of our series with VICE News Journalists in Film - get tickets!)

…His problem is that he is a journalist – he can’t get involved in everything he reports because he’s a filter. His job is always to talk about and show something or someone else, but he himself is not involved. He’s a witness not a protagonist  And that’s the problem.

via Diary of a Screenwriter

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Post No Bills: Werner Herzog

Bite This!: Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979, Werner Herzog)
Friday, August 29 & Saturday, August 30; Midnite | Buy Tickets

Teutonic filmmaker, and all all around mad genius Werner Herzog makes films that run a pretty wide spectrum: from captivating, like his sickly take on Nosferatu, to downright unwelcoming (give Even Dwarfs Started Small a shot). Impenetrable or not, Herzog’s movies are always a marvel. He’s a kind of enlightening force in cinema; impenetrable or not, his films pack the kind of lasting impact on the viewer that some directors — good ones, at that — may only achieve once in a career.

Below we collected posters from Herzog’s narrative career, a filmography like no other, filled with dwarves, rubber barons and a crack-addled Nic Cage.

Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)Even-Dwarfs-Started-Small-Poster (more…)

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Q&A: BAD BRAINS LIVE with Darryl Jenifer

For our July Music Driven entry, we screened two live films from legendary D.C. hardcore band Bad Brains and invited one of the band’s founding members: bassist Darryl Jenifer to talk it out with Sacha Jenkins, a “television producer, filmmaker, writer, musician, artist, curator, and chronicler of hip-hop, graffiti, punk, and metal cultures” (that’s from Wikipedia).

The two spent nearly an hour talking shop on Jenkins’ early musical influences (“the blessing of versatility”), how the band evolved from punk to a more spiritual Rasta slant, and his self-appointed position in the band to keep them playing tight. They cover plenty more than that. It’s a soulful and funny history of Bad Brains, punk rock and racism in America. It’s a blast.

BAD BRAINS LIVE Q&A with Darryl Jenifer and Sacha Jenkins from Nitehawk Cinema on Vimeo.


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Alan Cumming introduces SPICE WORLD

One day, we decided to ask friend-of-Nitehawk, and all around dazzling human being, Alan Cumming to pick out a movie for him to introduce, and we would hunt down a print and screen it. Much to our delight, Alan picked Spice World. Here he is introducing the film, where he spiced up our lives with some stories about how he nabbed a part in the movie, what it was like being around the Spice Girls at the height of their fame, and why his chest hair seems to move throughout the picture.

Alan Cumming introduces SPICE WORLD (June 12, 2014) from Nitehawk Cinema on Vimeo.

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Get a sense of what the Alec Guinness’ penned and starring film on being an artist, The Horse’s Mouth (and get tickets to this weekend’s screening)…

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