A great, bitter media satire, with Kirk Douglas at his most sweatily abrasive as Charles Tatum, an on-his-uppers newspaperman passing through Albuquerque looking for work.He finds a job at a quiet local paper and ferments there for a year until a surefire story presents itself: a man (Richard Benedict) is trapped in a cave-in. Soon enough, throngs of vultures â€” the place is called the Mountain of the Seven Vultures â€” surround the site, looking to cash in or gawk or ride carnival rides while the trapped man suffers and develops pneumonia. For his part, Tatum prolongs the manâ€™s agony so his status as the comeback kid of the national front page is assured. Director Billy Wilder and cowriters Walter Newman and Lesser Samuels throw in deft touches like the corrupt sheriff keeping a rattlesnake in a box (it wonâ€™t eat anything except bubble gum wrapped in foil) and the way the huge drill thatâ€™s supposed to be working towards the manâ€™s freedom sounds like the ominous drumbeat of an Indian ritual (much is made of how the catastrophe is the result of an Indian curse). Early on, Tatum insultingly says â€śHowâ€ť to a Native American newspaper staffer, who responds â€śGood afternoon, sir.â€ť The sacred land of indigenous peoples becomes both insulted and injured, the site of death and of white Americaâ€™s unerring capacity to distract and delude itself. Itâ€™s also one hell of a whip-smart entertainment, sardonic and sad and always with the wisecracks.Subsequent media-evil movies had big shoes to fill.