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Sunset Boulevard
- William Holden

Overview - Billy Wilder's masterpiece SUNSET BOULEVARD, a corrosive black comedy that remains the most memorable assault on the emptiness and vanity of the movie business, stars William Holden as young, down-and-out screenwriter Joe Gillis. Narrated in flashbacks by the now-deceased scribe, the film unwinds the series of events that left him lying face down in a pool.  Read more...

 
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More About Sunset Boulevard - William Holden
 
 
 
Overview

Billy Wilder's masterpiece SUNSET BOULEVARD, a corrosive black comedy that remains the most memorable assault on the emptiness and vanity of the movie business, stars William Holden as young, down-and-out screenwriter Joe Gillis. Narrated in flashbacks by the now-deceased scribe, the film unwinds the series of events that left him lying face down in a pool. Unable to sell his most recent chef-d'oeuvre, and in hock up to his eyeballs, Joe stashes his car in the driveway of what appears to be an abandoned mansion on Sunset Boulevard while trying to elude some persistent repo men. Closer inspection reveals the decrepit property to be inhabited by grandiose former silent movie goddess Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), and her zombie-like manservant Max (Erich von Stroheim). Upon hearing that he's a writer, the lonely but still wealthy woman offers to pay him generously to stay at the house and work on her "comeback" script on the life of Salome. Although spooked by the people and the surroundings, in desperate straits, Joe takes the job, little suspecting the madness of the netherworld he's entered. Wilder's merciless portrait of the dangers of a profession that trades in fantasy cagily couples the cynical amorality of the never-was with the near-psychotic narcissism of the has-been to reveal the vacuity of wealth and the transience of fame.

Awards:
1950 - Academy Awards - Best Art Direction - Set Decoration (b&w) Winner
1950 - Academy Awards - Best Adapted Screenplay Winner
1950 - Academy Awards - Best Original Score Winner

Cast List

Charles Brackett - Screenwriter and Producer, collaborated with Billy Wilder
Anna Q. Nilsson - Actress/Teens-1940s
Richard Strauss - German composer
Lloyd Gough - American character actor
Franklyn Farnum - Actor/Dustin's Brother
Hans Dreier - Production Designer
Hedda Hopper - Columnist, actress
Elda Furry - Columnist, actress
Ray Evans - Oscar winning American song lyricist, THE LEMON DROP KID
Cecil B. DeMille - American Director/Producer, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)
Cecil Blount DeMille - American Director/Producer, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (1956)
Charles Dayton
Jay Livingston - American Composer/Songwriter
Franz Waxman - Film composer
Arthur P. Schmidt - Editor, mid '30s-early '60s, father of Arthur Schmidt
Arthur Schmidt - Editor, mid '30s-early '60s, father of Arthur Schmidt
Doane Harrison - Hollywood Editor, SUNSET BOULEVARD (1958), STALAG 17 (1953)
Jack Webb - Actor/director/producer
Fred Clark - American Character Actor
Buster Keaton - Prolific silent comedy star/director
Joseph Francis Keaton - Prolific silent comedy star/director
Farciot Edouart
William Holden - American actor, STALAG 17, SUNSET BOULEVARD, NETWORK
William Franklin Beedle Jr. - American actor, STALAG 17, SUNSET BOULEVARD, NETWORK
Bill Holden - American actor, STALAG 17, SUNSET BOULEVARD, NETWORK
Edith Head - Oscar winning costume designer, THE STING
Erich Von Stroheim - Director/Actor/Screenwriter
Erich von Stroheim - Director/Actor/Screenwriter
Nancy Olson - American Actress
John Meehan
H.B. Warner - British Actor
Billy Wilder - Director/screenwriter/producer
Samuel Wilder - Director/screenwriter/producer
John Seitz - Supporting Actor
Gordon Jennings
Gloria Swanson - American Actress, SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)
Gloria Josephine Mae Swenson - American Actress, SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)

 
Details
    DVD Format
  • Format: DVD
  • Color Format: B&W
  • UPC: 032429258243
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: NR
  • Release Date: April 2017

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas

Related Keywords:
Classic
Suspense
Thriller
Murder
Film Noir
Recommended
Character Study
Showbiz
Film About Film
Los Angeles, California
Movie Stars
Filmmakers
Filmmaking
Essential Cinema

 
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Notes:
SUNSET BOULEVARD was an original selection to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 1989. Erich Von Stroheim, who plays Norma's butler, Max Von Mayerling, was himself a famous silent film actor and director with whom Gloria Swanson had worked. In fact, a clip of the film QUEEN KELLY is used in the film. (Norma screens it for Joe in her home). QUEEN KELLY, produced by Joseph Kennedy, was only partially finished when Swanson desperately cabled Kennedy complaining of Von Stroheim's directorial tactics and (supposed) reckless disregard for money. Von Stroheim was subsequently fired from the shoot, an event alluded to in SUNSET BOULEVARD. SUNSET BOULEVARD showcases some of Hollywood's biggest players as themselves, including Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper, and Buster Keaton. Among the famous stars and directors of the silent era who appear in the film are Anna Q. Nilsson and H. B. Warner. A theatrical version of SUNSET BOULEVARD, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, premiered in London in 1993, starring Patti LuPone. Glenn Close took the role of Norma in the Los Angeles version and, in 1994, reprised it for the Broadway premiere. According to Mason Wiley and Damien Bona's INSIDE OSCAR, among the actors and actresses considered for the part of Joe Gillis were Montgomery Clift and Fred MacMurray; those offered the role of Norma Desmond included Mae West, Mary Pickford, and Pola Negri.

Reviews:
"...Gloria Swanson gives her greatest performance....The movie cuts close to the bone....SUNSET BOULEVARD remains the best drama ever made about the movies..." - 06/17/1999 Chicago Sun-Times, p.5


"...A mordant masterpiece about two victims of self-deception who destroy each other and themselves....The movie is unimprovable..." - 11/29/2002 Entertainment Weekly, p.83


"These days, it seems like 1950's best movie." - 02/17/2004 USA Today, p.3D

 
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