The story, set in '50s Hollywood, focuses on Norma Desmond, a silent-screen goddess whose pathetic belief in her own indestructibility has turned her into a demented recluse. The crumbling Sunset Boulevard mansion where she lives with only her butler, Max who was once her director and husband has become her self-contained world. Norma dreams of a comeback to pictures and she begins a relationship with Joe Gillis, a small-time writer who becomes her lover, that will soon end with murder and total madness. Written by
The character of Joe Gillis was very much in tune with William Holden's standing at the time. When he appeared in the innovative Hollywood director Rouben Mamoulian's 1939 film Golden Boy (1939), he was hailed as exactly that, but had seen his stock fall, largely through his problems with alcohol and a string of unmemorable films in the 1940's. On the basis of this film and largely out of his continuing association with director Billy Wilder, Holden would reach the zenith of his career from 1950-57. See more »
When Norma's car is pulling up to Studio 18, you can see that the driver is clearly not Max as Erich von Stroheim did not drive. Furthermore, the uniforms are quite different. See more »
Yes, this is Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California. It's about 5 0'clock in the morning. That's the homicide squad, complete with detectives and newspaper men.
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The Paramount logo appears as a transparency over the opening shot. The words "Sunset Blvd." are shown stenciled on the curb of that street. See more »
In Hollywood of the 50's, the obscure screenplay writer Joe Gillis (William Holden) is not able to sell his work to the studios, is full of debts and is thinking in returning to his hometown to work in an office. While trying to escape from his creditors, he has a flat tire and parks his car in a decadent mansion in Sunset Boulevard. He meets the owner and former silent-movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), who lives alone wit her butler and driver Max von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim). Norma is demented and believes she will return to the cinema industry, and is protected and isolated from the world by Max, who was his director and husband in the past and still loves her. Norma proposes Joe to move to the mansion and help her in writing a screenplay for her comeback to the cinema, and the small-time writer becomes her lover and gigolo. When Joe falls in love for the young aspirant writer Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson), Norma becomes jealous and completely insane and her madness leads to a tragic end.
"Sunset Boulevard" is a bitter and tragic masterpiece of the genius Billy Wilder that exposes how Hollywood uses people and forgets them when they get old and are considered decadent by the industry. Further, it also shows the consequences of the lack of adaptation of a former star to the end of a successful career, being forgotten by fans and the industry, and the price that some persons accept to pay to join this business. The last time I saw this film was on 22 September 2002 and even having watched "Sunset Boulevard" for maybe five or six times, I still get excited with most of the scenes and I dare to say that it is in my Top 10 movies ever. The DVD has an interesting documentary called "Sunset Blvd.: A Look Back" (a.k.a. "The Making of Sunset Boulevard" with the presence of a still impressively beautiful Nancy Olson telling peculiarities about this awesome feature. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Crepúsculo dos Deuses" ("Dusk of the Gods")
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