It may be apocryphal but if it is true, I love the following story about publicity battles between David O.Selznick and Billy Wilder in 1944.
Selznick’s first film in 4 years,SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, at nearly 3 hours, was surely an attempt by the great man to equal the success of his mighty GONE WITH THE WIND.
Ever the showman, Selznick took out ads which said:
“The four most important words in motion picture history since Gone With The Wind – Since You Went Away!”
When Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity came out shortly afterwards, Wilder also took out an advert as follows:
“ The two most important words in motion picture history since Broken Blossoms – Double Indemnity!”
And to complete the deflating of Selznick, his former associate Alfred Hitchcock also took out an ad in the trade papers:
“The two most important words in movies today are Billy Wilder!”
I’ve not yet been able to find these ads but will keep searching. It’s such a lovely story.