This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
"I'm ready for my close-up!"
A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.
"I am big! It's the pictures that got small!"
Masterfully snappy dialogue like only Billy Wilder and the golden age of 40's and 50's film-noir can deliver. A comeback performance from Gloria Swanson to redefine the very notion of a comeback (I still can't get over how expressive her face is). Incisive commentary on the process of filmmaking which extends to the real lives of its cast and crew (Gloria Swanson returning to film as Norma Desmond returning to film; Erich von Stroheim, the director of Gloria Swanson's early films, as Max von Mayerling, the director of Norma Desmond's early films). Prescient awareness of the critical lack of genuinely new stories two decades before anyone would use the term "postmodern" to describe literature. A truly one of a kind film.
**Part of the Best Picture Project**
What a difference several years makes after having last seen a film!
As a younger still growing lover of film, when I first watched this, I merely watched it from a superficial standpoint. I enjoyed the "behind the scenes" aspect of the film, as well as the deteriorating mental state of Swanson's Norma Desmond.
But many years later, I am able to understand who Max was played by and why it was significant, as well as the many cameos (Shit, Buster Keaton!) and references.
Then there's Wilder's direction, which comes to employ silent film technique more and more as the film goes on and Norma Desmond's mental state begins to collapse, which serves as a contrast to how much more grounded William Holden's subplot is.
This is why revisiting films is important.
No one ever leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.
I've seen many films with the same premise as Sunset Boulevard: an aging film star down on his or her luck tries to come to terms with the loss of their youth and fame. And yet, I believe that there has never been a more biting, contemptuous, yet loving portrayal of one such star with leftover delusions of grandeur.
Norma Desmond is a silent movie star who hasn't acted in a film for twenty years. One day Joe Gillis, a writer down on his luck, arrives at her doorstep and allows himself to be drawn into the web that Norma weaves around him. Nothing bodes well for either…
Once in a while you come across a performance in a film that not only dominates that film, but overwhelms it to the point where you wonder if they had done an edit of the finished product that only included said performance if the film would actually have been better.
Sunset Boulevard could easily have been such a picture. The magnitude of the performance of Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond can be measured in the fact that in so many ways this is not only an incredible film, but also a daring and unusual film for its time. Yet her performance as the faded Hollywood icon, left desperately clinging on to her glory days coupled with forlorn hopes for a…
Performances : 8.4/10
Story : 9.4/10
Production : 8.1
Overall : 8.63/10
Wow. I bought this on blu-ray even though I had only seen it once before and I didn't remember being overly impressed. Maybe I slept through parts of it because I don't know what I was thinking. Sunset Boulevard tells an amazing story of fame and it's effects while also beating living shit out of Hollywood with a bat. It's the definition of art imitating life, with Noma Desmond played by former silent era star Gloria Swanson. Herself not having had more than one role in almost twenty years before this film was made. Her butler/former director Max Von Mayerling (awesome name) played by Eric von Stroheim (even…
A film noir drenched in notes of black comedy and shadowy-toned film-industry satire, Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" is a glorious piece of cinema. Rich with ironies and robust with dramatic texture, the film is a sharp, sad, riveting, and fully alive work that pleases with its narrative, themes, cast, writing and directing.
Taking place in Hollywood of long ago, "Sunset Boulevard" tells the story of an out-of-luck writer who becomes entangled with an aging silent-cinema queen looking to return to the fame of her past. Taking the writer into her care, the stage is set for a tale ripe with romance, unrequited love, misguided passions, and violence. The narrative is deliciously compelling.
Wilder's film reveals the eccentricities of the Hollywood…
Released two years after United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. - a pivotal case that led to the breaking up of the Hollywood studio system - Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard demarcates a milestone in cinema history, where the golden era of the Hollywood monopoly had been struck down in its prime. As with the thematically similar Singin' in the Rain (1952), Boulevard explores this devastating rift in popular culture by looking back on the silent era, focusing primarily upon the ghoulish, irascible Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson).
Much like the actress who plays her, Norma was a silent film star whose career never survived the industry's transition into sound. Wilder vividly evokes the way Norma's dead superstardom haunts her, infusing the…
To be reviewed on Episode #7 of Let's Take Five...
Utterly gorgeous, for which it gets half a star, but littered with problems. The narration, for one thing, is insufferable; Wilder undermines his own visual skill by announcing to the audience things that would be simple to infer visually, and god knows how much nuance is lost for it. It also forces our perspective towards Joe, which is one of the reasons why it's so hard to sympathize with Norma later on in the movie; Wilder (and Swanson) has already done such a good job in making her a clown.
Wilder's films are full of anger and contempt, and that isn't a bad thing. Ace in the Hole, for instance, succeeds because it cranks that anger up to 11 and becomes viscerally enjoyable. Sunset Blvd becomes simply exhausting exactly because its being restrained, because it's self-consciously "serious."
Deep respect for Wilder's eye. Well crafted and the ending completely bothers me, but in a pleasing way. Holden's voiceover is completely effective and I'll admit, a few scenes sent chills up my spine. How far will some go to be remembered?
A film that defied Hollywood at a time when it was a new idea, and it luckily holds up unbelievably well
ITS NORMA DESMOND
Peliculón de Billy Wilder con una gran interpretación por parte de Gloria Swanson y Erich von Stroheim, acompañados de unos más que aceptables William Holden y Nancy Olson. Toda película dentro del género del meta-cine suele ser una delicia para cualquier cinéfilo, pero ésta está tan bien orquestada que se pasa en un suspiro, con multitud de mensajes para leer entre líneas.
Just for the last scene I would rate it 5 stars. It's all perfectly wrapped up, the sympathy, the madness and the glamour that was once so illuminating under the lights and cameras. And the end credits that imitate those of silent film's is just an addition to the perfection of Sunset Boulevard that tells the story of the declined Hollywood silent era as well as its star that shines and fades in a luster that glimmers so briefly but brightly.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
The first 1012 films are from The 1,000 Greatest Films list, and maintain the original order. The films that follow…