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.
**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…
The stars are ageless, aren't they?
Simply brilliant. Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, who both racked up multiple Oscar nominations with a win each to boot at this point in their careers, decided this was the perfect time to take an unromanticized and harsh look at Hollywood's film industry through a brilliant film-noir script they co-wrote together.
I guess it's just a joy to see such a talented director make such a film while he was in the good graces of such an industry that was so in love with itself. To Wilder and Brackett's credit however, the story doesn't take cheap jabs at Hollywood, but sets…
I am big. It's the pictures that got small.
—I've been hoping to run into you.
—What for? To recover that knife you stuck in my back?
Amé las referencias cinematográficas y el cameo de Buster Keaton.
I feel like I need to take more time to process what I've just seen, but I'm going to write a review anyway. 'Sunset Boulevard' was an intense, dreamy look into celebrityhood. This film treats time and its sets as its own character. Everything has a sad and reflective, forgotten feel which is deeply embodied by the character Norma Desmond played by Gloria Swanson - that has a stare like a wild lizard on heat - and the relationship she has with Joe Gillis played by William Holden. I love this film. It was surprisingly moving and tense and gave me a similar lost feeling as the second half of 'Citizen Kane' with a sad, dreary, dank old house. It…
There's a good reason why an early scene of David Lynch's Mullholland Drive features a closeup of a street sign of Sunset Boulevard- Lynch's films are clearly indebted to the world of this masterpiece. Extremely dark for 1950, I now understand why Billy Wilder was such an important director. Obsession, Enmeshment, Secret Lives, Haunted Pasts, and Psychosis are bursting through this picture, yet it has the sleek sheen of the golden age of Hollywood. There is as much dark id and dangerous unconscious here as in any Lynch film- it's just that Wilder isn't one for surrealism.
Two MINOR quips- Gilles' farewell speech to Betty doesn't seem much from his character as much as it is a chance to retell…
A superb exploration of the detrimental nature of fame, unavoidable mortality and thrilling obsession.
"All right Mr. Demille, i'm ready for my close-up."
Not often I have such admiration for older films but this one was truly fantastic!
Awesome! No words can describe this fabulous movie!
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The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that…