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Billy Wilder Collection

One of Hollywood's most award winning Directors and Writers, Billy Wilder took up the director's chair to protect his scripts from changes by incompetent directors.

13 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 11 hours, 36 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
12 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from October 30, 1950:

"Lux Radio: Double Indemnity"



... or click here to save the Mp3 file to your computer

About this Old Time Radio Show

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Billy Wilder OscarsAmerican culture is the result of the great melting pot. People came from everywhere, bringing their best and their worst, and built the best lives they could using the blend of freedom and opportunity found on our shores. The result was the American dynamism which became the envy of the entire world in the Twentieth century. Sometimes the best perspective of America and what makes her great is that of an outsider because America is a land of outsiders.

Billy Wilder was born in an Austro-Hungarian which was decaying around him, in Sucha, Poland, 1906. What we call The Great War was the background of his boyhood, and he came of age in a shattered Europe desperate to recover from its effects. Given the name Samuel Wilder, his mother began calling him "Billie" after Buffalo Bill Cody and his famous Wild West Shows (he had an older brother, William Wilder, who also became a screenwriter). Growing up, Wilder fell under the influence of Jazz, the Charleston, and Douglas Fairbanks. His parents ran a moderately successful string of railway station cafes and hoped he would join the family business, but he went to university to pursue a legal career. Working in the legal system of a decaying society lost its appeal, so he turned to writing and journalism.

Editors found Wilder's knowledge of American culture to be marketable. He was called upon to interview band leader Paul Whiteman during his European tour, and the Jazzman was so impressed that he made Wilder part of his entourage during the Berlin leg of his tour. In Berlin, Wilder kept his finger on the pulse of popular culture and developed contacts in the German cinema community. He wrote the screenplay for Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday, 1930), which became a classic portrait of the German people during the Weimar period.

As a worldly and informed Jew, Wilder was under no illusions when the Nazis came to power, and he fled to Paris. Here among the community of artistic refugees, he got his first chance to direct. The result was Mauvaise Graine (Bad Seed, 1933), the story of a rich young man descending into moral disintegration. He continued to write, and a friend sent one of his scripts to another friend in Hollywood, which resulted in Wilder getting an invitation to come write there. Wilder pointedly made the crossing on a British liner rather than a French one, but he still arrived in Hollywood in 1933 with little command of the English language. He was, however, a fast learner.

Billy Wilder and Gloria SwansonWilder expanded his network of contacts (he shared a room with Peter Lorre for a time) and finally landed an assignment to collaborate on the screwball comedy Ninotchka (1939, featuring the tag-line "Garbo Laughs"). He received an Academy Award nomination with his writing partner, Charles Brackett, and the film nearly helped to revive Greta Garbo's faltering career (it was, in fact, her penultimate film).

Wilder's Hollywood directorial debut came in The Major and the Minor (1942). He was determined to have a mainstream hit so he could avoid being "stuck in front of a typewriter" for the rest of his career, and wrote the farcical comedy with Ginger Rogers in mind. Rogers, who had just won the Oscar for Kitty Foyle (1940) was in a position to name any director she wanted, but after meeting writers Wilder and Brackett for lunch so they could pitch the project, she decided to give the neophyte director a chance, finding him to be a "European gentleman".

Double Indemnity (1944) solidified Wilder's reputation as a director. The screenplay was co-written by Wilder and pulp fiction icon Raymond Chandler, based on a novella by James M. Cain. The story was thought to be unfilmable under the Hayes Code because adultery was central to the plot. Although the film is considered a work of genius, Chandler and Wilder did not get along. It was the pulp writer's first experience in Hollywood, and he claimed he would draft a screenplay in just over a week. Shocked, Wilder informed him that they would be working together and the writing would be slow and meticulous. Although Chandler's screen suggestions were nearly useless, Wilder quickly realized that his sense of dialog would work great in cinema. Although Double Indemnity was not Hollywood's first film noir, it helped to set the standards for the genre with the narrative elements of The Maltese Falcon with the stylistic elements of Citizen Kane.

Marilyn Monroe and Billy WildeWhen the Nazi concentration camps were liberated at the end of WWII, the Psychological Warfare Department of the State Department sent Wilder to produce a propaganda documentary to educate German citizens on the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime, entitled Death Mills or Die Todesmuhlen. In 1945, he won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Screenplay for The Lost Weekend, another difficult picture to make under the Hayes Code because the subject matter was alcoholism. Wilder's artistic triumph came with 1950's Sunset Boulevard. The story of the reclusive silent screen star with delusions of her greatness starring Gloria Swanson and William Holden received 11 Academy Award nominations and Wilder won for Best Writing.

From the middle of the 1950s, Wilder returned his focus to comedies. He directed Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina (1954) and Love in the Afternoon (1957), and Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some Like It Hot (1959). Wilder's satire, The Apartment (1960), brought him Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing (the film also won for Best Editing and Best Art Direction, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine were nominated in the Best Actor and Actress categories).

It has been widely supposed that Billy Wilder began directing to protect his screenplays from directors who were too anxious to make changes to his work, but his greatest genius was getting the best performances out of his actors. His intricate plotting and memorable dialog made Billy Wilder pictures especially appealing to radio adaptations like Lux Radio Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse and The Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre.

Billy Wilder retired from filmmaking after 1981 and went on to amass one of the most impressive art collections in Hollywood, mostly of Modern Art. He passed away in 2002 after battling pneumonia and cancer at the age of 95. A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1765 Vine Street honors Billy Wilder's contributions to Motion Pictures. The epitaph on Wilder's tombstone reads: "I'm a writer but then Nobody's perfect".

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:
  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    13 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 11 hours, 36 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      13 shows - total playtime 11 hours 36 minutes
      1. Lux 400520 Midnight.mp3
      2. Lux 411110 Hold Back Dawn.mp3
      3. Lux 420608 Arise My Love.mp3
      4. Lux 430531 Major And Minor.mp3
      5. Lux 431213 Five Graves To Cairo.mp3
      6. Lux 490926 Emperor Waltz.mp3
      7. Lux 501030 Double Indemnity.mp3
      8. Lux 510917 Sunset Boulevard.mp3
      9. Radio Hall Fame 460120 Annual Film Critics Award.mp3
      10. Sdp 501123 Cluney Brown.mp3
      11. SDP 510222 091 No Minor Vices.mp3
      12. SDP 510301 092 Foreign Affair.mp3
      13. SGT 460107 279 Lost Weekend.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    13 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 11 hours, 36 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      13 shows - total playtime 11 hours 36 minutes
      1. Lux 400520 Midnight.mp3
      2. Lux 411110 Hold Back Dawn.mp3
      3. Lux 420608 Arise My Love.mp3
      4. Lux 430531 Major And Minor.mp3
      5. Lux 431213 Five Graves To Cairo.mp3
      6. Lux 490926 Emperor Waltz.mp3
      7. Lux 501030 Double Indemnity.mp3
      8. Lux 510917 Sunset Boulevard.mp3
      9. Radio Hall Fame 460120 Annual Film Critics Award.mp3
      10. Sdp 501123 Cluney Brown.mp3
      11. SDP 510222 091 No Minor Vices.mp3
      12. SDP 510301 092 Foreign Affair.mp3
      13. SGT 460107 279 Lost Weekend.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    13 recordings on 12 Audio CDs
    total playtime 11 hours, 36 min

    Billy Wilder Disc A001

    1. Lux 400520 Midnight

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A002

    1. Lux 411110 Hold Back Dawn

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A003

    1. Lux 420608 Arise My Love

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A004

    1. Lux 430531 Major And Minor

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A005

    1. Lux 431213 Five Graves To Cairo

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A006

    1. SGT 460107 279 Lost Weekend
    2. Radio Hall Fame 460120 Annual Film Critics Award

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A007

    1. Lux 490926 Emperor Waltz

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A008

    1. Lux 501030 Double Indemnity

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A009

    1. Sdp 501123 Cluney Brown

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A010

    1. SDP 510222 091 No Minor Vices

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A011

    1. SDP 510301 092 Foreign Affair

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Billy Wilder Disc A012

    1. Lux 510917 Sunset Boulevard

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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