STANLEY KUBRICK DIED AT 70, but the new book “Conversations With Wilder” reminds us that one directorial legend is still alive and sharp-tongued at 93. You know Billy Wilder’s bemused view of America and the sexes from Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Sabrina and others. Here are a few you might not know:

The Fortune CookieWalter Matthau and Jack Lemmon’s first film together (yes, before The Odd Couple) won Matthau an Oscar as Whiplash Willie, relentlessly conniving personal injury lawyer.

The Major and The Minor—A screwball comedy with Lolita-esque undercurrents; Ginger Rogers poses as a mature 12-year-old to save on train fare, and winds up very popular at a boys’ military academy.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes—Lovingly true to the Victorian spirit of Conan Doyle even as it spoofs aspects of the detective’s legend, with Robert Stephens as the wittiest of screen Holmeses.

Avanti!—Stuffy Jack Lemmon goes to settle his father’s estate in Italy—and inherits the daughter of Dad’s mistress. Sounds like sex farce, actually a mature and charming film about what we now call Mid-Life Crisis.


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