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TCM to fete Wilder birth with docu, pix

Schlondorff film will celebrate maverick's 100th birthday

Turner Classic Movies will celebrate the late Billy Wilder’s 100th birthday June 22 with a newly re-edited film put together by Volker Schlondorff based on a series of interviews Wilder gave to German TV in 1988.

Called “Billy Wilder Speaks,” the film boils down a total of six half-hour programs into one 90-minute documentary in which he talks frankly about the circumstances surrounding some of his movies. TCM said he didn’t censor his remarks because the producers promised that the interviews would not be available in the U.S. until after he died.

TCM calls the docu “a lesson in filmmaking, an oral history of the movie business and an intimate portrait of one of cinema’s most talented masters.” Wilder discusses the appeal of a few of the actors with whom he worked, including Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.

Accompanying the docu will be airings of some of Wilder’s most celebrated movies, starting with “Double Indemnity” (1944) on June 22 and followed by five titles the next day: “The Lost Weekend” (1945), “Sabrina” (1954), “A Foreign Affair” (1948), “Sunset Boulevard” (1950) and “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (1970).

Co-directors of the original series of Wilder interviews are Schlondorff and Gisela Grischow. Schlondorff and the German critic Hellmut Karasek conducted the interviews.

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