Ace in the Hole (1951 film)

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Bad news sells best. 'Cause good news is no news.

Ace in the Hole is a 1951 film about a frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper who exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Directed by Billy Wilder. Written by Walter Newman, Lesser Samuels, and Billy Wilder.
Rough, tough Chuck Tatum, who battered his way to the top ... trampling everything in his path - men, women and morals!

Charles Tatum

  • Bad news sells best. 'Cause good news is no news.
  • I've done a lot of lying in my time. I've lied to men who wear belts. I've lied to men who wear suspenders. But I'd never be so stupid as to lie to a man who wears both belt and suspenders.
  • It's a good story today. Tomorrow, it'll be yesterday's news and they'll wrap a fish in it.
  • I can handle big news and little news. And if there's no news, I'll go out and bite a dog.
  • When they bleached your hair, they must have bleached your brain too.
  • You know what's wrong with New Mexico, Mr. Wendel? Too much outdoors.
  • How'd you like to make a thousand dollars a day, Mr. Boot? I'm a thousand-dollar-a-day newspaperman. You can have me for nothing.

Lorraine Minosa

  • I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.
  • I've met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my time, but you--you're twenty minutes.


Reporter: We're all in the same boat here.
Charles Tatum: I'm in the boat. You're in the water. Now let's see how you can swim.

Charles Tatum: Mr. Boot, I was passing through Albuquerque; had breakfast here. I read your paper and thought you might be interested in my reaction.
Jacob Q. Boot: Indeed I am.
Charles Tatum: Well, to be honest, it made me throw up. I don't mean to tell you I was expecting the New York Times, but even for Albuquerque, this is pretty Albuquerque.
Jacob Q. Boot: Alright, here's your nickel back.

Charles Tatum: Where's my desk?
Jacob Q. Boot: The one by the door. You may be out of here by Saturday.
Charles Tatum: Sooner the better.

Deputy Sheriff: Hey you! Sheriff wants to see you, down at the trading post. Don't waste any of his time 'cause he ain't staying around long. Maybe you ain't either.
Charles Tatum: You don't say?
Deputy Sheriff: You wanna know something? He don't like you.
Charles Tatum: And I was going to propose to him.

Sheriff: You're that Tatum guy that was popping off over the phone last night!
Charles Tatum: I wasn't popping off, Sheriff; I was threatening. "Play along with me and you'll get re-elected. Don't, and I'll crucify you," that's what I said, remember?
Sheriff: I think I'll have my boys take you down to the county line and throw you out!
Charles Tatum: Throw out your campaign manager? You need plenty of help.
Sheriff: And maybe before I throw you out, I'll toss you into the 'Klink' for awhile!

Charles Tatum: I don't belong in your office. Not with that embroidered sign on the wall; it gets in my way.
Jacob Q. Boot: Then it does bother you a little.
Charles Tatum: Not enough to stop me. I'm on my way back to the top, and if it takes a deal with a crooked sheriff, that's alright with me! And if I have to fancy it up with an Indian curse and a broken hearted wife for Leo, then that's alright too!

Jacob Q. Boot: Do you drink a lot?
Charles Tatum: Not a lot - just frequently.

Charles Tatum: When the history of this sunbaked Siberia is written, these shameful words will live in infamy: 'No chopped chicken liver.' No garlic pickles. No Lindy's. No Madison Square Garden. No Yogi Berra. What do you know about Yogi Berra, Miss Deverich?
Miss Deverich: Yogi? Why, it's a sort of religion, isn't it?
Charles Tatum: You bet it is - a belief in the New York Yankees. You know what's wrong with New Mexico, Mr. Wendell? Too much outdoors. Give me those eight spindly trees in front of Rockefeller Center any day. That's enough outdoors for me. No subways smelling sweet-sour. What do you use for noise around here? No beautiful roar from eight million ants - fighting, cursing, loving. No shows. No South Pacific. No chic little dames across a crowded bar. And worst of all, Herbie. No 80th floor to jump from when you feel like it....When I came here, I thought this was gonna be a 30-day stretch, maybe 60. Now it's a year. It looks like a life sentence. Where is it? Where's the loaf of bread with a file in it? Where's that big story to get me outta here? One year, and what's our hot news? A soapbox derby. A tornado - that double-crossed us and went to Texas. An old goof who said he was the real Jesse James - until they found out he was a chicken thief from Gallup by the name of, uh, Schimmelmacher. I'm stuck here, fans. Stuck for good. Unless of course, you Miss Deverich, instead of writing household hints about how to remove chili stains from blue jeans, get yourself involved in a trunk murder. How about it, Miss Deverich? I could do wonders with your dismembered body.
Miss Deverich: Oh, Mr. Tatum. Really.
Charles Tatum: Or you, Mr. Wendell. If you'd only toss that cigar out of the window - real far, all the way to Los Alamos - And boom!! [He chuckles] Now there would be a story.

Herbie Cook: [Looking at the unstable cliff-dwelling] I don't like the looks of it, Chuck.
Charles Tatum: Neither do I, fan, but I like the odds.

Herbie Cook: The old man sure looked bad. Did you see his face?
Charles Tatum: Yeah.
Herbie Cook: Like the faces of those folks you see outside a coal mine with maybe 84 men trapped inside.
Charles Tatum: One man's better than 84. Didn't they teach you that?
Herbie Cook: Teach me what?
Charles Tatum: Human interest. You pick up the paper, you read about 84 men or 284, or a million men, like in a Chinese famine. You read it, but it doesn't stay with you. One man's different, you want to know all about him. That's human interest.


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