skip navigation
Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Blvd.(1950)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (1)


  • The first name of the Joe Gillis character was Dan in an early draft of the screenplay.
  • The role of Norma Desmond was initially offered to Mae West (who rejected the part), Mary Pickford (who demanded too much project control), and Pola Negri (who, like Mae West, turned it down) before being accepted by Gloria Swanson.
  • Montgomery Clift, signed to play the part of Joe Gillis, broke his contract just two weeks prior to the start of shooting. Billy Wilder quickly offered the role to Fred MacMurray; he said "no."
  • The "Desmond mansion" had been built by a William Jenkins in 1924 at a cost of $250,000. Its second owner was J. Paul Getty who purchased it for his second wife. Mrs. Getty divorced her millionaire husband and received custody of the house; it was she who rented it to Paramount for the filming.
  • Originally opened and closed the story at the Los Angeles County Morgue. In a scene described by director Billy Wilder as one of the best he'd ever shot, the body of Joe Gillis is rolled into the Morgue to join three dozen other corpses, some of whom - in voice-over - tell Gillis how they died. Eventually Gillis tells his story, which takes us to a flashback of his affair with Norma Desmond. The movie was previewed with this opening, in Illinois and Long Island. Because both audiences inappropriately found the morgue scene hilarious, the film's release was delayed six months so that a new beginning could be shot in which police find Gillis' corpse floating in Norma's pool while Gillis' voice narrates the events leading to his death. Distortion caused by water meant that this scene had to be filmed via a mirror placed on the bottom of the pool.


  • drednm (2006-04-03)

    Source: Sam Staggs book on Sunset Boulevard......

    Gloria Swanson tried to get fellow silent-screen superstar, William Haines, to play a part in the film. He said no.

  • tedparsons (2006-06-12)

    Source: personal observation

    The swimming pool which was an integreal part of the movie was built especially for the film. I was a twelve years old delivery boy for the Los Angeles Times at the time of the shoot. For some reason we received and processed our newspapers in the yard of the apparently abandoned Getty mansion at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd and Crenshaw, and we watched the whole thing. We couldn't believe that anyone could build a swimming pool just for a moving picture and then fill it in when the filming was over. The home was a real derilict in the otherwise oppulent neighborhood of Hancock Park. Overgrown and neglected it stood out like a sore thumb. Mrs Getty probably needed the dough if indeed she was actually living there at the time. Later it was torn down to make room for a rather beautiful ten story office building for some oil company. Probably Occicental.

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute