2012 45¢ Billy Wilder
Great Film Directors
Issue Date: May 23, 2012
City: Silver Spring, MD
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Billy Wilder (1906-2002) was one of just five people to win Academy Awards for producer, director, and writer for the same film.
Raised in Austria-Hungary, Wilder got his start in film as a screenwriter in Berlin. When Adolf Hitler rose to power, the Jewish-born writer relocated to Paris, where he directed his first movie, Mauvaise Graine (Bad Seed).
After moving to the U.S., Wilder co-wrote and directed a string of successful movies, including Double Indemnity (1944). Many consider this to be the first true film noir (crime drama) as it established popular style conventions including venetian blind lighting and voice-over narration. The film also marked a significant triumph over the growing censorship in the film industry. In fact throughout his career, Wilder worked to expand the range of acceptable subjects in movies.
One such case was Some Like It Hot (1959), in which two male stars dress in women’s clothes to escape mobsters. The film lacked the Production Code Seal of Approval, but enjoyed great box office success, leading to looser censorship overall in the industry.
Wilder’s mark on the film industry endures today, as his movies top countless “Best of” lists. And in 2012, as one director received an Oscar, he wanted to thank three people – they were all Billy Wilder.