Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Not Rated   |    |  Drama, Film-Noir


Sunset Boulevard (1950) Poster

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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8.4/10
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  • Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  • "Sunset Boulevard" Gloria Swanson and Billy Wilder 1950 Paramount / MPTV
  • Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  • "Sunset Boulevard" William Holden 1950 Paramount
  • Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  • "Sunset Boulevard" Gloria Swanson with a technician behind the scenes 1950 Paramount

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16 September 2001 | tostinati
Reel Life Gothic
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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