Podcast: The Last Thing I Saw: Focus on Billy Wilder

It was so much fun appearing on Nicolas Rapold’s “The Last Thing I Saw” to discuss Billy Wilder. The other guests were Farran Smith Nehme (a good friend of mine), and Steven Mears. The inspiration to discuss Billy Wilder was the recent publication of a book called Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and Interwar Vienna. A treasure trove! He wrote about entertainment, he wrote about the rich coffee house culture, he wrote about movies, he shared stories of making his own first fledgling movies and – best of all – he wrote a fantastic personal essay about his experience as a hired dance partner for a swanky hotel. I mean, in the gigolo territory! So that book came out, and Nic approached us to talk about
1. the book
2. Billy Wilder, in general.

We each picked a movie to discuss – just to focus the conversation – although other movies come into it, of course. Here’s how Nic described the conversation:

A few months ago I caught wind of a book with an intriguing title: Billy Wilder on Assignment: Dispatches from Weimar Berlin and Interwar Vienna. It turned out to be a collection of writings from when Wilder as a brash young journalist—his previous career before becoming one of Hollywood’s absolute greatest directors. It’s a fascinating read, and as for his career, you can’t go wrong with a track record like Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Ace in the Hole, to name only a few. So I decided to bring together three colleagues to pick one Wilder movie apiece — one per decade — and share a few things we love about the director’s work. I was joined by three powerhouse critics of classic Hollywood who practically need no introduction: Farran Smith Nehme, Sheila O’Malley, and Steven Mears. Special thanks to Noah Isenberg who edited Billy Wilder on Assignment (Princeton University Press) which helps launch our conversation.

I hope you enjoy our conversation about one of the greatest – and most prolific, and most diverse – directors in American cinema.

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2 Responses to Podcast: The Last Thing I Saw: Focus on Billy Wilder

  1. Thank you for this Blog. I am really enjoying it. Your blog was recommended to me by the one and only Jincy Willet who I am obsessed with after reading Winner Of The National Book Award.
    Thanks again,

    • sheila says:

      Olivia – you are so welcome – and Jincy is so awesome and I have so appreciated her support here. Her books are so fantastic! I love that one especially since it takes place in the town I grew up in! Rhode Islander born and raised!

      Thanks so much for showing up. I really appreciate it!

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