The Billy Wilder DVD Collection (2003) In 1961, when Billy Wilder stepped to the podium to collect one of his three Oscars for The Apartment, presenter Moss Hart whispered, "This is…
Review

The Billy Wilder DVD Collection (2003)

EW's GRADE
B-

Details Release Date: Jul 15, 2003; DVD Release Date: Jul 15, 2003

In 1961, when Billy Wilder stepped to the podium to collect one of his three Oscars for The Apartment, presenter Moss Hart whispered, ''This is the moment to stop, Billy.'' Hart wasn't wrong. A more accurate name for this nine-film collection might be Wilder: The Later Years, since it picks up long after the great writer-director's triumphs with Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, and Sabrina. So what do you get for your $129.96? Two indisputable masterpieces -- 1959's Some Like It Hot and 1960's The Apartment (below), both of which still delight. One enjoyably theatrical piece of courtroom hokum (1957's Witness for the Prosecution). One riotous capitalism-in-the-Cold-War satire (1961's One, Two, Three, with James Cagney in his last major role, spitting out his lines like machine-gun fire). And, unfortunately, five movies that trace the master's decline: Shirley MacLaine's charm redeems 1963's overblown Irma La Douce, and Walter Matthau's Oscar-winning turn as a sleazy lawyer helps 1966's stale Fortune Cookie along, but the less said about Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), or Avanti! (1972), the better. For buffs and collectors: A- Bang for your buck: B-

Originally posted Jul 25, 2003 Published in issue #720 Jul 25, 2003 Order article reprints