8 January 2011 | AlsExGal
A casual conversation turns into a great interview
The maker of this documentary and director Billy Wilder originally intended what was filmed here to just be a dry run of what would be the later actual interview portion of a documentary on Wilder's career. The two sit down in Wilder's crowded office and Wilder just starts talking about the various aspects of his long career. The one stipulation that Wilder made was that this footage not be released in his lifetime. Wilder and the interviewer go back and forth between German and English - depending upon what language best expresses the points they wish to make - with helpful subtitles for those of us who speak English when either speaks German.
Wilder says some things that don't surprise me - for example that Jack Lemmon was the definition of a professional. Wilder would not have used him so much and Lemmon would not have been such a great performer had that not been the case. However, Wilder's insights into Marilyn Monroe were new to me. He said while making "Some Like it Hot" that sometimes they would spend all day trying to get one take in which Marilyn had just one line, to the point where he wanted to pin the line to the wall so she could just read it. Other days she would come in and have pages of dialogue memorized. He also had some interesting things to say about making films on the Holocaust immediately after the war and the impact they had on German audiences at the time.
At any rate, this dry run turned out to be so good that it became the actual interview. I highly recommend it to people who are interested in Billy Wilder's career, since it is almost entirely Billy Wilder talking about the projects he worked on, his philosophies of filmmaking, and the people with which he worked. It's a fascinating documentary.