Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
A Hollywood Story
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…
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…
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…
This might be the greatest performance I've ever seen from an actress. Gloria Swanson is simply magnificent here and I kept getting mixed feelings from her character throughout the film as she can be vulnerable, manipulative, caring and obsessive, always imposing a strong screen presence. Sunset Boulevard is a masterful work on all fronts. From the technical standpoint, there are some very creative and stylish shots like the underwater pool sequence and the majestic closing scene. There's also strong character development as you notice how one's preconceptions towards the other can easily change as the story progresses and the dynamics between them also evolves. Even the secondary characters are memorable and lead to interesting turn of events. Another aspect I…
Lurid noir focused on a born loser who thinks he has finally stumbled upon good fortune.
While his benefactor Norma has barricaded herself in a fortress of memories and manufactured praise, Joe also alienates himself and willfully ignores opportunities for love and professional achievement to remain a pampered and kept man, unaware of the untenableness of his position.
A struggling screenwriter unexpectedly ends up in the vice-like grip of a fading silent-film starlet. Ironically, it his very inability to produce a successful story that creates this one; this fascinating, expertly paced, nuanced story of success and failure in the otherworldy streets of Hollywood.
It is such a strangely insular experience, being filmmakers watching a film about filmmaker’s making, an idea later taken to its logical extreme in the more recent Spike Jonze film, Adaptation. It is such a strangely insular experience, being filmmakers watching a film about filmmaker’s making films. There is something about watching a movie on a movie that suddenly reveals all sides of the art form, often in harsh and unforgiving ways that makes one…
I watched this at the Loews in Jersey City. It was a gorgeous space and the film played great with a crowd.
Good ending, but the constant narcissistic narration got annoying after the first few minutes.
What a positively breathtaking piece. From the music to the story itself, it breathes with a twisted yet elegant air. Of course, none of it would be nearly as effective without Gloria Swanson's captivating performance. It's easily one of the best performances I've ever seen in any movie. Definitely earns its spot as one of the best movies ever made.
I can't tell if Gloria Swanson is amazing or terrible in this movie. #MAYBETHATSTHEPOINT
Nobody does crazy eyes like Gloria Swanson. All the unnecessary narration in this proves Desmond's point about talkies....
"Then I sulked over to the window..."
Yes, we know you just walked to the window, silly goose, we all saw it, but thnx for telling us anyway.
Sunset Boulevard isn't a Hollywood story; it's the Hollywood story.
Watched this for FDM. Really interesting! I think Joe was an idiot for choosing that ugly old movie star and her wealth over Betty (She was a DIME)... and he's also a total retard for not taking the gun out of Norma's hand when she's clearly not all there mentally.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
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