Sunset Boulevard ★★★★½

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small."

Billy Wilder's look inside the dark heart of Hollywood is as much an evisceration of the movie business as it is a warning of clinging on to past glories. In Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond, he has a tragic monster, who floats around her Sunset Boulevard mansion believing that Hollywood directors are still lining up to cast her in their movies. She is ably supported in her fantasy by her butler Max, played by Erich von Stroheim, who hides his own secrets. In truth, William Holden's Joe Gillis suffers in comparison and doesn't elicit much sympathy for his fate. But it really is all about Norma and she doesn't disappoint, right up to her triumphant "close-up".

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