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
In the book "On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder," Ed Sikov relates a story about Wilder's explanation of the true meaning of the strange dead chimp scene from the start of the film. Sikov says that during the mid-1990s, both Wilder and former First Lady Nancy Reagan were at a party for an opening of one of the productions of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on the film, when, with Reagan nearby, an older woman approached Wilder with a question about what the chimp scene meant. Wilder's typically outrageous answer, probably intended to shock the former First Lady as much as to inform the woman of the true meaning of the scene, was, "Don't you understand? Before Joe Gillis came along, Norma Desmond was fucking the monkey." See more »
When Joe Gillis gets out of the pool and Norma offers to dry him off, several crewmembers as well as lighting, microphones, and other equipment, are reflected in Norma's large, dark sunglasses. See more »
Yes, this is Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California. It's about 5 o'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 »
Gloria Swanson, William Holden and Erich von Stroheim star in this Billy Wilder cinematic masterpiece about an aging essentially forgotten silent film star who has delusions about returning to pictures. Made in 1950 this film will capture the viewer each time it is seen. The references to the bygone silent movie era are somehow chilling. Much like when a person walks around ancient Rome or Egypt wondering how something so powerful and advanced could come to an end. Both Swanson and Stroheim were of course giants during the silent film years and their performances is this great movie even seem to show their perhaps real life animosity toward talking films.
Holden as Joe Gillis a rapidly becoming down on his like screen writer who stumbles into Swansons world is fantastic. This is certainly one motion picture that could never and should never be remade or colorized, as the Black and White photography is brilliant. It didn't make AFI's top five of all time and perhaps should have. You can't consider yourself as one of "All those wonderful people out there in the dark" if you've never seen Sunset Blvd.
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