Emory Cinematheque explores the legacy of Billy Wilder

The Apartment Image courtesy of Park Circus/MGM Studios

July 31, 2019

The Emory Cinematheque series of free film screenings presents “Billy Wilder (and a bit of Lubitsch)” for its Fall 2019 program. As a writer and director, Wilder’s major cinematic legacy spans 26 films and six decades. All screenings are on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. in White Hall 208 from August 28 through December 4. The entire series is free and open to the public.

“Wilder, a Jewish-Eastern European immigrant, always regarded America from the perspective of an outsider,” says Matthew H. Bernstein, professor and chair of film and media studies, who curated the series with Todd Cronan, professor of art history. 

“Whether it was comedy or drama, Wilder cast a sharp, realistic eye on American society, through tales of often loner characters who deceive others and themselves. Their actions express American naivete and also greediness, corruption and hypocrisy, the latter especially on the subject of sex. His outstanding dialogue is always incisive and witty. His films, in their open-eyed frankness, speak to us as much today as they did when they first appeared.”

Emory Cinematheque kicks off with three works by Wilder’s mentor and inspiration, director Ernst Lubistch. Beginning August 28 with Lubistch’s "To Be or Not to Be (1942)," the series continues with "Ninotchka (1939)" and the rarely screened silent comedy "Forbidden Paradise (1924)." Renowned silent film accompanist, Donald Sosin accompanies "Forbidden Paradise" live on the piano.

The series then features eleven of Wilder’s most successful and controversial films. Titles include "Double Indemnity (1944)," "Sunset Boulevard (1950)," "Some Like it Hot (1959)," and "The Apartment (1960)."

All films will be shown in professional DCP or 35mm formats and introduced by curators Bernstein and Cronan. For more information, visit the Emory film and media studies website or call 404-727-6761.

Full Series Line-up