Thank You For Smoking: Lighting Up With Billy Wilder

By  · Published on September 28th, 2017

Smoking kills but Billy Wilder made it look killer.

Billy Wilder was one of the sharpest film writers of all time. His directing, to say the least, wasn’t half bad either. His films dripped with acid far more potent than that of his contemporaries and delightfully dissolved inside of seemingly standard genres of the time. War flicks and film noir bowed to his idiosyncrasies, one of which was the way he shot smoking.

This supercut of Wilder’s smoking scenes surveys the variety of emotions and tones the cigarette can help as a prop, whether it is strength, bravado, wimpiness, or the universally acknowledged emotion of severe drunkenness. He finds humor and power in the device because it lets him show you succinctly how characters behave with something most of his audience was intimately familiar with.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).