The Sun Was Setting (1951)

TV Short  -   -  Short | Drama
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A woman is dying in her apartment. Two friends visit her and she tells them she wants to go to Chinatown. They convince her not to go, and then leave themselves. Unable to stand her ... See full summary »

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A woman is dying in her apartment. Two friends visit her and she tells them she wants to go to Chinatown. They convince her not to go, and then leave themselves. Unable to stand her confinement, the woman dies. Written by Mark Rowan <mrowan@arches.uga.edu>

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The Sun Also Sets  »

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First film written and directed by Edward D. Wood Jr.. See more »

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Absurdest Film, As Only Edward D. Wood, Jr. Can Deliver It.
19 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I was rather intrigued when I first had the opportunity to view this short film by, Mr. Wood. I've been a huge Ed Wood fan for many years, and while I have actively sought out most of his work, many of his earliest T.V. efforts are either lost, unavailable, or extremely difficult to come by. Recently I discovered that his earliest complete (non-commercial) work was freely available on the internet. I jumped at the opportunity to view it.

Initially, I had very low expectations for this film. Other shorts by Ed Wood, which I have had a chance to view were lackluster to say the very least. The Portraits of Terror episode, "The Final Curtain" which was finally rereleased this year was somewhat disappointing, and other works such as Trick Shooting with Keene Duncan, and the earlier Crossroads of Laredo were extremely dull. But, given the Ed Wood name, and the interest I have in his full-length works, I had to at least give this film a shot. What I saw astonished me.

The story revolves around a young woman suffering from an unspecified terminal illness. The illness (presumably a heart defect) has left her house ridden, and her final desire is to go out and have one last night of fun. Despite the fact that going out will only hasten her demise, and against the urging of her best friend, and her lover, she goes out anyways, only to die before leaving her apartment. Depressing, no?

It's interesting to me that in this fourteen minute short, Ed Wood was able to convey some relatively convincing emotions and dramatic gravitas with this simple plot. The film is very much dialogue driven and free from the stock footage montages which we are used to in most of Wood's work. While it may come as a shock to most people, the screenplay and script really work here. The dialogue reminds me a lot of something from a Twilight Zone episode, where the dying character's emotions are explored, as well as the emotions of those around her. The plot, as I mentioned in the title of this review is absurdist in nature. It lacks any sort of hint at deus ex machina, or deep meaning in human life. This woman is going to die young, and her dying wish will not be granted. And no, I am not trolling, but I do have to say this is a thinking film, albeit of the Ed Wood style.

This film's place unfortunately will likely always remain as a footnote to Wood's career, just a small film made before Glen or Glenda?, which coincidentally shares the same soundtrack to this film. While its obscurity is unfortunate, its existence is helpful to Wood apologists, such as myself. You do see legitimate potential in this film, and its young writer/director Edward D. Wood, Jr. It establishes his style, and is quite frankly an eloquently written short worth some of attention other Wood films have achieved.

8/10 a must see.


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