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Sunset Blvd. (1950)

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A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.

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Top Rated Movies #53 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 15 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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1st Finance Man (as Larry Blake)
Charles Dayton ...
2nd Finance Man
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Anna Q. Nilsson
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H. B. Warner
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Storyline

In Hollywood of the 50's, the obscure screenplay writer Joe Gillis 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, who lives alone with her butler and driver Max Von Mayerling. Norma is demented and believes she will return to the cinema industry, and is protected and isolated from the world by Max, who was her 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, Norma becomes jealous and completely insane and her madness leads to a tragic end. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Hollywood Story See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 September 1950 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

A Can of Beans  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,752,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Make-up designer Wally Westmore found that Gloria Swanson's face belied her age and wanted to make her look older. Swanson argued that a woman like Norma would have been obsessed with her appearance and would have done her utmost not to look old. Westmore and director Billy Wilder agreed with this so William Holden was made up to look older than he was. See more »

Goofs

When Max is telling Joe about directing Madam's first pictures, there is a bad dub of the word "sixteen". After the Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle trial and the subsequent establishment of the Hays Office to enforce the new Production Code, the producers were concerned that the original age of 14 would be considered child porn and had the line changed in post. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joe Gillis: 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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Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Nip/Tuck: August Walden (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

La Cumparsita
(1916) (uncredited)
Music by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez
Tango played by the band on New Year's Eve and danced by William Holden with Gloria Swanson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Bitter and Tragic Masterpiece
18 January 2008 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

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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