Filmspot goes to Hollywood with Billy Wilder!

Hope you’ve all had a splendid Easter! We have been getting ourselves ready for next weekend when Filmspot goes to Hollywood, without even leaving Eastbourne!

We have two fantastic Hollywood themed films over the weekend, on Friday 5th April at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm) we are screening Sunset Boulevard, and on Saturday 6th April at 4pm (doors 3.30pm), we’re showing Singin’ in the Rain. In my last blog, we explored some great Gene Kelly moments, in honour of Singin’ in the Rain, so this time we’re looking at some of the classic Billy Wilder moments…

Some Like it Hot (1959)

Probably Wilder’s best-known film, Some Like It Hot stars Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and George Raft. Lemmon and Curtis play two jazz musicians who accidently witness the Valentine’s Day Massacre. Struggling to find work, they disguise themselves as women and join a women’s band, headed by Marilyn Monroe. The American Film Institute listed Some Like It Hot as the greatest American comedy of all time.

The Apartment (1960)

Starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, this charming drama-comedy focuses on a lonely office worker, C C Baxter (Lemmon), who allows his four managers to use his apartment for their extramarital liaisons. The initial idea for the film came from Noel Coward’s play ‘Brief Encounter’, and also from the real life Hollywood scandal when producer Walter Wanger shot agent Jennings Lang after discovering Lang was having an affair with his wife. Released after the success of ‘Some Like it Hot’, it was widely thought of as a comedy when it came out, but it has a very melancholic, dramatic air.

The Lost Weekend (1945)

Very different in tone from the above two films, this Noir masterpiece shows the life of an alcoholic, particularly focussing on a weekend-long binge. While less bleak than the autobiographical novel by  Charles Jackson on which it is based, this is a rare depiction of the grim realities of alcoholism, rather than the usual Hollywood tactic of using drunken-ness for laughs. The film rightly swept the board at the Academy Awards, winning best picture, director, actor (for the lead, Ray Milland) and screenplay in 1946.

Double Indemnity (1944)

Co-written by Wilder and the great Raymond Chandler, based on a novella of the same name by James M Cain, Double Indemnity is regarded as one of the classics of Film Noir. Featuring hardboiled dialogue, and a cruel femme fatale, this film was actually created before the term ‘Film Noir’ was even coined! Barbara Stanwyck plays a provocative housewife, who schemes a complicated insurance scam, in which she entangled Walter Neff (played by Fred MacMurray), a successful but greedy insurance salesman.

Ace in the Hole (1951)

Starring Kirk Douglas, Ace in the Hole is Wilder’s scathing examination of the press, and its ‘victims’. Douglas plays a disgraced reporter who is desperate to regain work on a national newspaper. He senses an opportunity to get back onto front page national news when a man gets trapped in a cave, while gathering ancient Indian artefacts. He gets involved in the rescue mission, trying to prolong it in order to get the biggest story possible from the situation, turning the rescue mission into a ‘circus’. Unsurprisingly, given its theme, the film was poorly received by the press on release, but it really is classic Wilder material, with his typical biting outlook.

On Friday, however, we are showing one of Wilder’s greatest, and possibly darkest, works, Sunset Boulevard. We hope to see you at the Devonshire Park Tennis Centre, for the film start at 7.30pm.

Tickets may be booked here – and tickets for Singin’ in the Rain (on Saturday 6th April, at 4pm – doors 3.30pm) may be booked here



…in honour of the star of next week’s show…!

We thought we’d just remind you all why you have to love Gene Wilder! Here we go…

1. The Young Frankenstein [1974]

Personally, this is my favourite Mel Brooks creation – partly because of my love of the original ‘Frankenstein’ (which is one of the reasons we screened the 1931 Frankenstein as our inaugural event, way back in 2009!).

2. Stir Crazy [1980]

Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor were just so good together!

3. The World’s Greatest Lover [1977]

Ok, I don’t think this is Wilder’s finest hour, but there are some pretty silly moments, that just can’t fail but make me laugh in this. Who is the world’s greatest lover? Why, obviously…

4. The Producers [1968]

From one of Wilder’s weaker performances to one of his most memorable – a possibly the most widely praised collaboration with Mel Brooks.

5. The Frisco Kid [1979]

Surprisingly, the chemistry between Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder works well. A slightly unusual, but very strong performance from Wilder, too!


…so… after all of these reminders, who could resist coming along to our screening of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory next Sunday, to see him in his most memorable role, as the great man himself?

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Sunday 26 August, 2pm
Tickets £6 adults/ £4 children
Advance booking strongly recommended. Telephone Newhaven Fort for tickets on 01273 517622, or reply to this email for more details.

The Filmspot team has enlisted the help of carpenter and designer Adam Prior, from Torbay, to create over-sized lollipops, candy cane vines and tea cup bushes to dress parts of the fort into a temporary ‘candyland’. Talented animation student, Martyna Dawidoska, is creating special projections, based on the colourful musical, which will be located in the underground tunnels at the Fort. A cast of unusual characters will be helping Filmspot out around the fort, including a magician, some oompa loompas – and even the great man himself.
A Wonka-themed treat is included in the ticket price, and these have been sourced by Sweet Moments in Seaford (
…so to finish up, here’s a lovely clip of Mr Wilder at his finest!
We hope to see you all there!