“His litany of accomplishments is astonishing: not only the quintessential film noir and most celebrated slapstick comedy in cinema, but arguably its greatest romance and showbiz satire”
When Billy Wilder migrated from Germany to Hollywood, the Motion Picture Production Code (commonly known as the Hays Code) had just been implemented and curtailed some of the more progressive elements of American films, including implied nudity, sexual references and unpunished immorality.
Throughout his career, a series of societal and cultural events would change cinema and the world. During the Second World War, many women entered the workforce for the first time and experienced financial independence. Television was introduced in the early '50s, questioning the relevance of cinema and provoking the industry to provide a racier alternative to what was available in living rooms. Meanwhile, the appetite for European cinema, unbound by the confines of the Hays Code, also increased. Change was definitely afoot.
Though certainly of their time, Wilder's films adhere to and challenge the Hays Code and explore the evolving attitudes towards women through on-screen depictions.
Featuring romantic comedies, film noir and cinematic masterpieces, including Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard and a new digital restoration of five-time Oscar-winner The Apartment, take a trip back to classic Hollywood this summer.