Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
"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.
Noir-November Challenge! Movie #18
The first time I became aware of the character Norma Desmond was from comedic skits on the Carol Burnett Show! See link below to reminisce right along with me..
If I hadn't joined David Toppers Noir-November movie challenge I may never had the opportunity to see one of the greatest Billy Wilder films out there! It is everything I could have ever hoped for from Film Noir film and so much more! Seriously it's all that and a bag of chips!
Gloria Swanson didn't simply bring a character alive on the big screen, she literally transformed into this bigger than life persona that is Norma Desmond! It was an extraordinary privilege to witness Gloria Swanson…
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…
27 January 2015  ★★★★★
⚫ DVD Commentary
'I am big. It's the pictures that got small.'
When films examined and publicise the duplicity and bitterness of Hollywood nowadays, they tend to be parodic, farcical or stupid. But in the 50s, such films were not only far more clever, and far more engaging, they were also far more provocative. We now have an inbuilt scepticism about the people behind the camera, and the private lives of those who are in front of it, but films like Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve are a far sharper look for a far less cynical time. Sunset Boulevard itself is an eerily tragic story, but one handled with a delicate hand by Billy Wilder, who challenges and entertains his audience with…
Film Appreciation Class, Viewing #1
(As a Somewhat Teacher)
"I'd always heard you had some talent."
"That was last year. This year I'm trying to make a living."
26 January 2015  ★★★★★
⚫ Masterworks Collection Blu-ray
A classic film with one of the best portrayals of a truly psychotic hose beast.
I just wanted to let you guys know that I have started a blog all about Academy Award nominated films. I started with this as my first review so check it out and recommend it please!
"I'm big, it's the pictures that got small!"
A huge mistake that I made was watching this movie so late..
Sunset Boulevard totally deserves its' reputation of being one of the classics,.
Billy Wilder, shows the ugly and striking truth behind the industry of cinema, while he lives in that reality. With Gloria Swanson, DeMille, Buster Keaton; somehow they reflect us their own story in cinema, faces from the past, to be forgotten, without voices...
Wilder also, gives his respects to people from "behind the scene" He states that we, spectator always forgets that there are people who writes, prepares the scene. Modern world adjusts the spectator into being a consumer, Industry of entertainment feeds us, non-stop, and we accept without asking it was made by who or what... That's something I call "ugly truth" And, in conclusion Wilder successfully shows this tragic way of Hollywood, indeed.
Gloria Swanson's eyes are so haunting. The whole thing is a scary obsession of film's great silent era and the growing irrelevance of its stars. This is all well and good and the noir is on point. But those eyes. They pierce your soul and make you realize that the brilliance of the desperate performance isn't in the writing or dialogue, but in the key elements of the silent era: the face.
The amount of layers to this story is incredible. It is the story of a woman caught up in her glory days, of narcissism, of self-consciousness, of manipulation, of greed, of betrayal, and of obsession. The movie revolves around Norma Desmond, a former actress in the silent pictures. She has since aged and become obsolete in Hollywood. However, she is so attached to her youth as a star that she refuses to see the truth that she is no longer relevant to Hollywood. Norma showcases her narcissism for her former looks in all the pictures she has of herself. She only watches her own movies. She still "performs" in her house to her servant, Max. Along comes the narrator, Joe…
- 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 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
most recent update - Friday, November 22, 2014
The letterboxd crew has unveiled a new feature that allows users to…