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Sunset Blvd. (1950)

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A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

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Top Rated Movies #54 | 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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Lloyd Gough ...
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1st Finance Man (as Larry Blake)
Charles Dayton ...
2nd Finance Man
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Cecil B. DeMille (as Cecil B. De Mille)
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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 wit 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 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, 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:

Passed | 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)
 »

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

To shoot Joe and Norma dancing together at her New Year's Eve party, cameraman John F. Seitz used a dance dolly - a wheeled platform attached to the camera. It was the same technique he had used to shoot Rudolph Valentino's tango in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921). See more »

Goofs

Norma tells Joe how Mabel Normand was a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty with her in the old days, but Mabel was never in that group, having left Keystone for Goldwyn by the time they became a film staple. 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 The Art of Fear (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Played by the band on New Year's Eve
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Reel Life Gothic
16 September 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Every time I go to L.A., which isn't too often, I look at these palm-bemused, once smart stucco facades, and wonder if a Norma Desmond from a later era might be hiding from the world inside them, buttressed by cable TV (AMC or TCM, no doubt), a poodle named FiFi or Sir Francis, walk-in closets full of leopard-print Capri pants that haven't fit in decades, and a world class liquor cabinet that has seen heads of state under the table on a good night. It is because of Sunset Blvd., for certain, that my mind could ever go there. It is one of the most indelible films you will ever see.

This film is great for many reasons, not the least of which is because it is Hollywood's first look back at itself. In the milieu of this film, the silent era is only 22 years behind us. The people left behind by the rush to sound can still palpably TASTE the fame, the accolade, that particular past being not so very dim and distant. The sadness of their lives was real, and at that point in history, all around, if hidden. Way more has been made of the supposed "savagery" of this film vis a vis the faded star than I think exists now, or ever did. The often cynical Wilder is deeply in touch with the tragic here, as much as the grotesque.


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How did silent movie stars react to the movie? raginghobbitinjapan
Aging or the arrival of sound? Erniesam
One of the greatest and possibly THE most unique performance ever JPLogan54
DeMille was quite a good actor yniehr
Someone please answer nitinmohankapoor
Nancy Olson IloveMuggy
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