- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Billy Wilder Masterpiece
- DON RILEY
This was written by and directed by Billy Wilder. Wilder is given credit with others for the screen play. I believe this is a perfect film. The dialogue actually describes Norma Desmond along with her own actions and the words of Cecil B. De Mille and Eric Von Stroheim's characters, completely from her youth through her husbands and films, her power . The New Year's Eve scene, the burial of the monkey, the organ music make this film more of a "horror" film than a "drama". That is out of design. The Gloria Swanson character is like something out of Mythology a true Medusa, along with Von Stroheim's ghoulish presence. They both create unforgettable characters. While the script with lines like that delivered by Nancy Olsen "............he called me and asked me to come out to Arizona because they perform marriages for two dollars". Lines like that show how "cheap" actual relationships are in Hollywood. It is all about "status" and the lust for "status". In this unreal world the most sane of characters, that of William Holden, actually become victims of totally insane characters like Von Stroheim and Swanson. This is somewhat of a mirror image of the Phil Spector saga. This is oh, so dark, yet, it is very possibly the grandest image of reality, one could hope for from celluloid.
- Danny Donian
Quite simple really, The best movie about movies and the people who make them.If you want a detailed review read Carlys below.
Gloria Swanson is Brilliant
The plot device of starting the movie at the end of one character's life is both tragic and intriguing. And how Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond here lost the Best Actress Oscar to Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday that year is an entirely different tragedy. No accolades really describe what Swanson does here. Her character is old Hollywood from the silent film era. She lives in a huge, old mansion with lots of old money and an old butler. Enter youthful and spry Joe Gillis (Bill Holden) as a broke scriptwriter who hides his car in Desmond's garage to avoid repossession. Boy, does he ever get way more than he bargained for, going from pork & beans to prime rib. Custom shirts and suits. Gold cigarette cases. Money. Wining and dining. Joe lives the lush life after Norma adopts him for her amusement. It's a pretty good ride until Joe hits a bump. He meets a woman screenwriter on the lot and they're like peas in a pod. He likes her. But then there's Norma. She can't live without him. As Norma prepares for her great comeback with director Cecil B. DeMille, her ego is deflated a 1,000 times when she realizes Mr. DeMille is not ready for her close-up. She's crushed and becomes suicidal, dangerous, raving mad after rightly guessing that Joe has a girlfriend. How does Joe break free? How does he live happily ever after with the kid from the movie lot? How does he give back all the nice cuff links? If it is your first time viewing, it won't be your last. Holden is great here, but Swanson is brilliant.
the female lead is electra. the male lead is icurus . the butler is the cyclops. the director is zeus..and I may not be able to spell.
Film Noir With Dark Humor
- frank r. lopez
Another masterpiece by Billy Wilder. Gloria Swanson plays Norma Desmond, a silent film star living in the past and Holden, a down on his luck screenwriter whom Desmond wants as her companion. Von Stroheim is especially good as butler in mansion/museum. Tons of atomosphere, terrific story and Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper plus Buster Keaton in a cameo. Winner of three Oscars and I feel Swanson and von Stroheim should have won Oscars too. The best film from Hollywood about Hollywood hands down. A Top 10 film all-time and a must-see classic.
- Hauntess A. Clichae
The sun goes down on many movie personnel who get paid to work the reflection/illusion for purposes of immortal mystique rather than the betterment of the viewers as this movie expertly shows- maybe Wilder & company were among them.
- Hauntess A. Clichae
Yes, the title is the story- the sun goes down on a Godless, vain people who get paid to work illusion not for the betterment of their viewers but to achieve immortal mystique. Wilder may be among them- most movie personnel know which side they are really on as this film aptly portrays.
- Michael Whitty
One of the great movies about Hollywood life is "Sunset Boulevard" with a tough-luck writer William Holden meeting up with a faded Hollywood star from the silent era Gloria Swanson. Billy Wilder directed this classic which sees Holden staying at this Hollywood mansion on Sunset Boulevard since he is about to be forced out of his apartment. Swanson wants Holden to write her a script that Paramount might buy but there is really no chance for her anymore. Even Cecil B.DeMille at the studio doesn't think she can make a comeback. This is really a cynical look at Hollywood as Holden doesn't really fit in at Swanson's house and wants more to do with Nancy Olson as a script adviser at the studio. This black-and-white film says lots about how talented you have to be to make it in Hollywood. Talent doesn't last forever.
One of my favorites
I love this movie, Gloria Swanson is perfect in her part. William Holden and the rest of the cast are perfect and just pull this movie together. This movie is alittle dark but it wouldn't be the great movie it is unless it was. One of my favorite movies.
I really do consider this film to be disturbing because it is so dark, so gothic and the narration by a man found dead and floating in a swimming pool is incredibly creepy. Nevertheless, this is a magnificent classic. Gloria Swanson is outstanding as the all-but-forgoten silent film star who lives in what is damn close to a haunted house on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. She is hiding from the world with only her devoted butler, Max, who is as strange a character as one might find in any horror film. When the viewer learns of his real identity, it is mind blowing. The scene when we first meet Norma Desmond (Swanson) and Max (Erich von Stroheim) is absolutely bizarre. They are holding a silent funeral for a chimpanzee in the overgrown and spooky back yard of Desmond's estate. But it's all like coming across an automobile accident. One cannot help but look and want to see and learn more. William Holden as Joe Gillis who stumbles into Desmond's dreary estate while running from creditors is incredible in the part. He is the narrator as well and he is perfectly cast. This is a murder mystery, a gothic horror film, a glimpse into the workings of a Hollywood studio, and a trip into the warped mind of a woman right on the edge of an emotional breakdown. It also has some of the most famous lines in all of film history--especially two from Norma: "I am big; it's the pictures that got small." and "All right, Mr. DeMille; I am ready for my close up." That last line coupled with Norma descending the stair case gives any viewer chills as the camera fades. This film is truly psychological weirdness. And it is all remarkably entertaining. Don't miss the chance to watch this remarkable classic.
best pf the best
- don letta
Possibly the greatest film ever made. Daring, shocking, done with exquisite taste and performed magnificently.Possibly the final blow to the Hollywood myth came after the film... winning three lesser awards for 1950.This was not just another academy screw-up... it was a travesty.
the Magic Boat Bed!!!
- Movie fan of yesteryear
watch for it in Chaney's Phantom of the Opera (1925)!!!i KNEW i had seen it before SBlvd...took me awhile to track it down, lots of TCM watching!
Oil wells, pumping, pumping, pumping.....!
An amazing performance by Gloria Swanson. She WAS a silent sreen star!
- kevin sellers
You would think there would be as many great films about film making as there are great novels about writers. Alas, there are not. Directors and screenwriters rarely train their eye on their art/craft without embracing the cliches of movie life; the vulgar producer, the self destructive starlet, the long suffering writer etc. To this general rule there are, however, a handful of exceptions. "The Bad And The Beautiful," "Sullivan's Travels," "Day For Night," "The Player," are four that come readily to mind. And topping the list, of course, is "Sunset Blvd." From the opening, with its beyond the grave narrator (first time I can remember that device used) to the ending, with Norma Desmond playing to the (tabloid news) cameras, it has you in a vise like grip which is not loosened even one iota. Only the very best movies manage to do that. A plus.
What a great movie, I first saw it about 25 years ago=, after seeing it I ran out and purchased the VHS, since then I've gotten it on DVD, I watch it every now and then, it only keeps getting better each time I view it. this is what movies are made of, one of the great entertaining view alls of all time, it's too bad that TCM doesn't show this GREAT screen favorite more often.
The quintessential movie about movies. A screenwriter becomes the gigolo to a forgotten silent cinema queen planning a return to movie-making. Swanson won the Golden Globe while Holden, von Stroheim and Olson received Oscar nominations for their performances, von Stroheim particularly outstanding as Swanson's director-tutned-husband-turned-butler. Won three Oscar's for it's score, art direction and for Wilder, Brackett and Marshman, Jr.'s screenplay, the story itself boldly takes a look at the ugly side of Hollywood and is lightly funny and dark. An masterpiece of cinema with Wilder's usual, expert use of dialouge. I give it a 5/5.
Overall-4/5Lead Performers-4/5Supporting Cast-4/5Director-5/5Score-4/5Titles-4/5Screenplay-4/5Cinematography-5/5Importance-3/5Recommendation for fans of the genre-4/5
Sunset Blvd (1950)
The biggest and best movie to look inside the darkness of Hollywood is this movie right here. It is about B movie writer Joe Gillis (William Holden) and how a washed up silent screen star named Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) forces him to write the screenplay for her return. The cast is superb, with Holden giving his best performance and an electrifying one at that; Swanson doing well, however, she sometimes tends to overact a bit; Erich Von Stronheim doing the best of the whole cast yet also setting the tone for the entire film; and Nancy Olson, doing well in her 1st big role. Franz Waxman's score is both exhilarating and haunting. The MVP of this film is director Billy Wilder, who traveled to the depths of Hollywood with a film that could've been dangerous for him. The script has plenty of very quotable lines. The ending scenes are unforgettable. Talk, talk, talk, didn't ruin this one bit.
Oh does she ever shine.
Hollywoods original Cougar
- Richard Warnock
Every fan of SunsetBlvd. never tire of the film.That is the mark of great storytelling.Norma Desmonds delusional climb back to the top of her career and the brewing love affair with her boy toy screen writer are played out on screen by former silent star Gloria Swanson and [new comer at the time]Wm.Holden.The supporting cast and celeb cameos,tie Billy Wilders direction all together.This classic is always ready for its close-up,not to miss.
SILENT HOLLYWOOD TALKS!
- Mikey Lacy
Three of Hollywood's greatest silent inovators TALK and tell us their story via a brilliant fictional script. The lines Von Strohiem toss back and forth are black humor at its very brightest. Swanson's scene at the old Paramount Gates breaks ones heart. DeMille as always is larger than life and we root for him. The "modern day" cast is supurb. Silent film buffs and students of Hollywood history cannot get enough of this picture. I watch it every time it is shown, the DVD is a must have in any collection. One has to ask what Adolph Zukor and Jesse L. Lasky had to have privatly thought about the picture. The entire film boggles the mind while remaining engrossing and vastly entertaining. Gloria as Norma watching herself in the film she made with VonStrohien playing Max is the best inside joke in all moviedom!
Timing Is Everything
- Bruce Reber
If only Joe Gillis had that flat tire a little farther down Sunset Blvd. he might have turned into the driveway of another star (a contemporary popular one), instead of has-been silent screen star Norma Desmond living in her creepy rundown mansion. But then we would not have had the pleasure of seeing Billy Wilder's scathing look at the darker more seedier side of Hollywood and its personalities. Sunset Blvd. is a study in contrasts, with a young struggling screenwriter trying to get his first break and his career off the ground, and an aging delusional former screen queen whose career has been over for more than 20 years, but can't face reality and is trying for her big comeback (or return, as Norma hates the word "comeback"). Even though Joe tells Norma he will edit her lengthy, overly melodramatic script for "Salome" because he needs the money, he is slowly drawn into her creepy world of fantasy and excess in her mausoleum and becomes attracted to her. But at the same time he falls for Betty, who is also aspiring to be a screenwriter. But as fate would have it, Joe's entanglement with Norma prevents him from having the relationship with Betty he really wants. The stage is set for tragedy because Norma finally realizes that Joe can't give her the love she so desperately needs, and he realizes that his attraction to Norma is sick and twisted and based only on necessity and convenience. Joe ends up face down dead in Norma's pool after she shoots him, and she finally does get to make her "return" to film, although not the way she wanted. I've heard about the original ending where Joe's body and several others in the morgue talk about how they met their deaths, but at test screenings the audience thought it was so weird and off the wall that they laughed. I would like to have seen it, but it probably no longer exists, unless it's included on the DVD (which I don't yet have). I watch Sunset Blvd. every time it's on TCM. One of the greatest films ever.
- Laura J
They just dont make 'em like this anymore. Great storyline and cast. Enjoyed seeing the old time silent stars in a cameo appearence. The only thing was the movie makes you think Norma is like 80 years old but she is only 50, not old at all by todays standards, but I guess in the '50's it was. I really enjoyed it, the whole cast was great.
Fuzzy end of the lollipop.
- Oliver Cutshaw
This movie more than any other, with perhaps the exception of A Star is Born, shows the ebb and flow of Hollywood fame. It is an almost clinical examination of the egotism of stardom, especially faded stardom. Gloria Swanson is fantastic. The cast excellent, the direction and script brilliant. Some complain that the film is a bit too dark, but I think it is dark and disturbing because it is a depiction of the growing madness of Norma. Absolutely fantastic closing scene.
As good as it gets.
This is one of those rare movies that you can see over and over again and never tire of. It has so many perfect elements in it that you can't count them. Also they are elements that are so subtle that you cannot explain them. This is what makes the Golden age of the movies so creative.Above all, if Gloria Swanson never made another movie in her life she couldn't have been more supurb. WHAT A PERFORMANCE!!!!!
A BIG PICTURE
- WALTER G WILSON
THIS IS AN EXTRAORDINARY MOVIE.GLORIA SWANSON AND WILLIAM HOLDEN ARE SO GOOD IN ITIT HAS GREAT LINES AND A INTERESTING STORY LINE THAT NEVER GROWS OLD.IN MY OPINION ERICH VON STROHEIM CARRIES THE WHOLE MOVIE. IT IS A MUCH SEE FOR MOVIE LOVERS.
This movie is just brilliant. There's no other way to describe it. I saw it on TCM just a couple weeks back and I was amazed. This is one of the greatest films I've ever seen. Gloria Swanson's character is an example of just how brilliant everything in this movie is. She is wonderful. William Holden and Gloria Swanson both recieved well-deserved Oscar nominations for their roles. A classic for many, many years to come.
- Donna Reed
- Marcos Augusto
The best Hollywood movie ever made about Hollywood!
I AM READY FOR MY CLOSE UP
THIS HAS TO BE MY ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE.IF I COULD BE A GUEST PROGRAMMER ON TCM THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST ONE I WOULD PICK. GLORIA SWANSON IS IN HER FINEST HOUR. I WILL NEVER FORGET THE LEGENDARY DIRECTOR ERIC VON STROHEIM AS HER BULTER AND EX HUSBAND MAX. IT HAS GREAT LINES AND WILLIAM HOLDEN HAS A HEY DAY.BILLY WILDER SHOULD GO DOWN IN HISTORY FOR THIS FILM.
What a Flick!
Wow! Every time this film airs, I'm on it! What a phenomenal movie. The direction, storyline, actors, everything, just comes together to make a truly exciting and classic film. Sheer perfection! I wish Nancy Olson made more films. What a wholesome looking, beautiful girl. Great Film!
- Fan of the Classics
Everything from Wilder's script and direction to the actors is absolutely perfect. If you haven't seen this one, it is a MUST.
- Joyce Thomas
I have often written for suggest a movie :Sunset Blvd. hoping that TCM would air it and since you have I see the trem endous reaction fans have toward this tremendous motion picture. Gloria Swanson is a genious in her performance and her supporting cast accentuates her performance in every way with their extroidinary performances. I cannot believe that she did not win the academy award.
The Greatest Film of All Time
Superb on all counts and boasting the best performance on film: Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond.William Holden, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, co-star with Jack Webb, Lloyd Gough, Fred Clark, Cecil B. de Mille, Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nillson, H.B. Warner, Yvette Vickers, and Julia Faye.