Sunset Boulevard(1950) NR
|Director:||billy wilder||Runtime: 1 hrs 50 min (110 min)|
|joe gillis||.....||william holden|
|norma desmond||.....||gloria swanson|
|max von mayerling||.....||erich von stroheim|
|betty schaefer||.....||nancy olson|
|artie green||.....||jack webb|
|1st finance man||.....||larry blake|
|2nd finance man||.....||charles dayton|
|cecil b. de mille||.....||cecil b. deMille|
|hedda hopper||.....||hedda hopper|
|buster keaton||.....||buster keaton|
|anna q. nilsson||.....||anna q. nilsson|
|h. b. warner||.....||h. b. warner|
|ray evans||.....||ray evans|
|jay livingston||.....||jay livingston|
|cop dragging body from pool||.....||fred aldrich|
|prop man #1||.....||ralph montgomery|
|prop man #2||.....||joel allen|
|courtier #1||.....||gertrude astor|
|courtier #2||.....||eve novak|
|courtier #3||.....||frank o' connor|
|courtier #4||.....||virginia l. randolph|
|homicide captain||.....||ken christy|
|sheldrake's secretary||.....||ruth clifford|
|camera operator #1||.....||archie r. dalzell|
|camera operator #2||.....||arthur lane|
|assistant coroner||.....||eddie dew|
|phone standby||.....||al ferguson|
|connie - betty's roommate||.....||gerry ganzer|
|1st salesman at men's shop||.....||kenneth gibson|
|2nd salesman at men's shop||.....||archie twitchell|
|newsreel cameraman||.....||sanford e. greenwald|
|creighton hale||.....||creighton hale|
|grip on deMille set||.....||chuck hamilton|
|camera assistant #1||.....||james hawley|
|camera assistant #2||.....||edward wahrman|
|police sergeant||.....||len hendry|
|doctor||.....||e. mason hopper|
|1st assistant director||.....||stan johnson|
|2nd assistant director||.....||bill sheehan|
|little woman outside paramount gate||.....||tiny jones|
|police lieutenant||.....||howard joslin|
|party guest||.....||william meader|
|man on golf course||.....||harold miller|
|hog - eye||.....||john ‘skins’ miller|
|dancing party guest/ paramount studio employee||.....||lee miller|
|gordon cole||.....||bert moorhouse|
|fat man||.....||jay morley|
|police captain||.....||howard negley|
|josey||.....||robert emmett o' connor|
|sidney skolsky||.....||sidney skolsky|
|black man||.....||emmett smith|
|giggling girl on phone at party||.....||yvette vickers|
|actor on deMille's ‘samson & delilah’ set||.....||henry wilcoxon|
|undetermined role||.....||joe gray|
|undetermined role||.....||ottola nesmith|
You'd think they'd learn in the movies that when there is somethmg wrong with your car, the nearest spooky mansion in the woods is probably not the first place you want to pick to use the phone to call for help. It happened to Janet (Susan Sarandon) and Brad (Barry Bostwick) in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975. And you know where it got them.
But this tendancy for misfortune by way of automobile malfunction didn't start there. It actually was around a quarter of a century earlier in 1950, when a struggling screenwriter named Joe Gillis (William Holden) is evading a couple of debt collectors. Joe comes upon a flat tire while driving, and this tire unfortunately happens to be attached to his car. So he turns into the semi-secluded driveway just off of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. It is the grand mansion of a former silent motion picture star named Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). He is admitted on the misconception that he is the undertaker for the household pet…who happens to be a monkey!
It is apparent to Joe that, aside from the original overall spookiness of the place,the only permanent residents are Ms. Desmond and her butler Max (Erich von Stroheim).
Ms. Desmond seems to be caught in the days when she was a star of silent films. She is also under the impression that the world has not changed (except that the pictures have gotten inferior). She has the goal of starring in a new picture. She believes she can go to her former director, Cecil DeMille (Cecil B. DeMille), and star in a breakout film. When Joe shows up at the house, Norma gets him to stay so he can "edit" her manuscript she has written.
Joe, meanwhile, has secured some work at the Paramount studio, and he finds himself attracted to another editor. Norma sees this as a threat to her relationship with Joe, which is actually nonexsistant.
The remainder of the movie is better left to viewing, knowing that intrigue and suspense fills in the plot.
I don't want to brag, but I will, because you won't believe me anyhow.
I have always been of the impression that I will someday produce a written work of fiction suitable for publication. Of the many ideas I've had for a unique novel (I think that's redundant) was to have the narrator (story told in the first person) turn out to have been dead all throughout the tale he has been telling. Hopefully not spoiling the plot too much, that is exactly what happens in Sunset Boulevard.
I will admit that I have never seen Gloria Swanson in anything other than this movie. FYI, I plan to remedy that ASAP.
As of this writing, I know enough to say that Gloria Swanson plays the role of Norma Desmond to the hilt. Her background as an actual silent film star gives her the first-hand experience to be able to bring us into that world 30 years later.
Whatever the case, it seems a bit silly today and perhaps even when this movie was made. But it becomes interesting when you realize that at one time, the methods used by Norma Desmond were taken very seriousely.
In order to truly enjoy and appreciate this movie and all of its values, you must put yourself in the place of each character, separately, and experience the story from each point of view. It becomes a journey though time with a character who refuses to leave her own past in the past.
While watching this movie, I found myself wondering what it must have been like to see Gloria Swanson playing the part of Norma Desmond at a time in reality when that sort of performance was not normally seen.
Although the plot of Sunset Boulevard is not a documentary of silent movies, the writing and the performances make you forget that it's not.
Bottom line…I suggest you tie a rope to your ankle while you watch this movie so you can be pulled back out of the closet if the 20s when it's over!
Finally, a short list of quotes and verbal exchanges I think are worth repeating.
You may recognize some if you've seen the movie, but these are my own picks, not ones that are particularly famous:
- joe :
You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big!
I am big. It's the pictures that got small.
- max :
We have to be very careful. No sleeping pills, no razor blades. We shut off the gas in Madame's bedroom
- joe :
She's not forgotten. She still gets those fan letters.
I wouldn't look too closely at the postmarks.
- norma :
Valentino said there's nothing like tile for a tango.
- norma : [to security guard]
Teach your friend some manners. Tell him without me, he wouldn't have ANY job. Because without me, there wouldn't be any Paramount Studio.
- de mille :
Norma, why don't you just sit here and watch. You know, pictures have changed quite a bit.
- joe :
If you get $100,000 for it, buy me some chocolate creams. If you get an Oscar, I get the left foot.
- betty :
Look at this street. All cardboard, all hollow, all phony, all done with mirrors. You know, I like it better than any street in the world.
- norma :
No one ever leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.
- norma :
All right, Mr. De Mille. I'm ready for my close-up.
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