Billy Wilder thanks TV for making movies less low


Fitzgerald is known for his seminal Jazz Age work “The Great Gatsby”, while Faulkner is best known for Southern Goths as “As I Lay Dying”. Fitzgerald racked up writing credits in the late ’30s, including “Three Comrades” and “Winter Carnival,” but didn’t make a big splash in Hollywood.

Faulkner, on the other hand, had a close working relationship with acclaimed director Howard Hawks. The novelist helped Hawks on a number of his most famous movies, including ‘The Big Sleep’ and ‘To Have and Have Not’, both starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Faulkner worked with Hawks on something like “half a dozen pictures,” the director says BFI. “I could call him anytime and ask him for a scene, and he always gave it to me,” Hawks insisted.

As Wilder puts it, novelists and other artists would “put all their fingers in the pie, but not with genuine interest” (via WireMagicians). Some directors may have been angered by this hypocrisy, but Wilder saw it as an opportunity to prove them wrong. “They despised the movies, which is my greatest pleasure,” he exclaimed. “Everybody thought of movies as something mediocre until, thank goodness, the invention of television. Now we have something to despise.”

It’s a cynical but precise worldview. The advent of television has definitely improved the artistic credibility of cinema. Similarly, the growing popularity of reality television in the 90s led to a more respectable view of narrative television series, which gave way to shows like “The Sopranos.” It’s hard to imagine that “Double Indemnity” was the “Jersey Shore” of its day, but the story is funny that way.

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