Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Sunset Boulevard


Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, an aging silent film queen, and William Holden as the struggling writer who is held in thrall by her madness, created two of the screen’s most memorable characters in Sunset Boulevard. Winner of three Academy Awards®, director Billy Wilder’s orchestration of the bizarre tale is a true cinematic classic. From the unforgettable opening sequence through the inevitable unfolding of tragic destiny, the film is the definitive statement on the dart and desperate side of Hollywood. Eric von Stroheim as Desmond’s discoverer, ex-husband and butler, and Nancy Olson as the bright spot in unrelenting ominousness, are equally celebrated for their masterful performances.

Source: DVD Cover

The last time I watched this movie, I fell asleep, hardly remembering any of it, but feeling dissatisfaction and discomfort. This time, I was able to watch it all the way through and must embarrassingly admit that I could identify with Nora Desmond and her desire to possess. When I was out there abusing narcotics, those were the kind of relationships I thrived on. As long as I was supplying the goods; I expected complete loyalty and adoration. Interestingly, I would have to say that this story is the exact opposite of Front Row Center The Star, seen previously.

I was surprised to learn that William Holden played played the lead role of Joe Gillis, as I was to discover Jack Webb as Artie, his friend. The fact that there are so few central characters lends to an excellence in writing and I am not surprised it won the Academy Award for this category. I even find the story timeless, an essay to the dangerous delusions of love, evidence by the perpetuated illusion set forth by Max and the self-deceit practiced by Joe.


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