[Quick Summary: A newspaper reporter manipulates the media around a man trapped in a cave.]
In anticipation of this soon-to-be-released film critiquing the media, I decided to see how Billy Wilder did it.
Here, Tatum is a reporter who stumbles on a story of a lifetime. He controls the situation in order to milk it for as long as he can.
I liked how Tatum's hypocrisy is revealed through ridicule (satire).
In this scene, we know that Tatum is trying to delay the rescue:
ex. "RADIO REPORTER: What's your name, sir?
MINER: My name is Kuzak. Did a lot of mining in my day. Silver mining, that is --up in Virginia City. The way I see it --
RADIO REPORTER (holding mike to him): Go on, Mr. Kuzak. We're very much interested. [Tatum is losing control.]
MINER: We had cave-ins. Quite a few of them. One of them I know of farther in than yours.
TATUM: Were you ever in a cave-in yourself, Mr. Kuzak? [Tatum casts doubt to regain control.]
MINER: No, not personally....
TATUM (stepping in - to Kuzak): Mr. Kuzak, this is a Cliff Dwelling, not a silver mine. [Tatum mocks the miner.]
MINER: I think it's all the same. A man's underground and you got to get him out.
TATUM: Well, did you get your man out, Mr. Kuzak. [Tatum bluffs.]
MINER (Shakes his head ruefully): I'm afraid we didn't. We were too late.
The little tension which Kuzak had built up subsides.
TATUM: Well, then suppose you let Mr. Smollett do it his way. From the top." [Tatum shames the miner.]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Ridicule makes a sharper point when it's polite ridicule.
Ace in the Hole (1951)
by Billy Wilder, Lesser Samuels, & Walter Newman