Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge

Billy Wilder was one of the most prolific directors, producers, and screenwriters of classic Hollywood. His career in the film industry lasted roughly five decades, with Wilder having a hand in many of the most memorable films ever made, including Double Indemnity (1944), Sunset Blvd. (1950), Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), and more.

Joseph McBride’s Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge examines Wilder’s works and his connection to social satire. Though a huge part of cinema history, Wilder’s life was shaped by his time outside of the U.S.–particularly in Austria and Germany–and as a Jewish refugee. After having faced these realities, Wilder felt isolated while simultaneously crafting some of cinema’s greatest works.

McBride’s book takes Wilder’s personal experiences into account and explores Wilder’s films from this lens as a means of better understanding the man behind these memorable films. At the work’s core is the fact that Wilder’s films depict a sense of compassion and understanding for humanity, layered in wit, wisecracking, and romance.

This book is an exceptional tribute to and critical analysis of Wilder’s works. Fans of Wilder’s films are sure to enjoy this book as well as develop a better understanding of Wilder, his experiences, and how his life shaped his art.


Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge is available for purchase via Columbia University Press.