Sunset Blvd.
Year:
1950
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
8.5
Director:
Billy Wilder
William Holden as Joseph C. 'Joe' Gillis
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond
Erich von Stroheim as Max Von Mayerling
Nancy Olson as Betty Schaefer
Fred Clark as Sheldrake
Lloyd Gough as Morino
Jack Webb as Artie Green
Franklyn Farnum as Undertaker - Chimp's Funeral
Larry J. Blake as First Finance Man (as Larry Blake)
Charles Dayton as Second Finance Man
Hedda Hopper as Herself
Buster Keaton as Himself - Bridge Player
Anna Q. Nilsson as Herself - Bridge Player
H.B. Warner as Himself - Bridge Player
Storyline: The story, set in '50s Hollywood, focuses on Norma Desmond, a silent-screen goddess whose pathetic belief in her own indestructibility has turned her into a demented recluse. The crumbling Sunset Boulevard mansion where she lives with only her butler, Max who was once her director and husband has become her self-contained world. Norma dreams of a comeback to pictures and she begins a relationship with Joe Gillis, a small-time writer who becomes her lover, that will soon end with murder and total madness.
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Reviews
Greatness Boulevard.
Generally considered as Wilder's peak,it lives up to its reputation.Fifty years later,it remains the best movie about movie world,not only hollywoodian .One hundred times plagiarized,never surpassed. First of all,there 's the Swanson/Von Stroheim couple.He directed her in the famous "Queen Kelly"(another must of the silent movies).Von Stroheim was too ahead of his time,his movies scared the censors ,so he was not allowed to pursue a career that would have been stunning in the talkies.Here he became (supreme downfall),Swanson's butler ,while we see one of his former colleagues,Cecil B. De Mille,playing his own role,still directing.Von Stroheim's character is called "Max von Mayerling" ,probably one of Wilder's private jokes: Stroheim once said he was the son of a lady in waiting of Austrian Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) whose son Rudolph committed suicide in Mayerling!And Wilder was Austrian too. Swanson is impressive too.The comeback myth is the dream of every actor whose star is slowly but inexorably fading.that she continues viewing her old -and real!- triumphs like "Queen Kelly,that she's writing an extravaganza shows that her comeback desire has reached the point of no return and that her only place in this world is the asylum.What Swanson did not achieve in the movie,she did it for real:she really could come back(as Lilian Gish),her performance,particularly in the last scene ,has stood the test of time. Wilder as a scriptwriter outdoes himself here;lines like "I'm still big;it's the pictures that got small" could be pronounced today ! 25 years later,he would try to update "sunset blvd" with "Fedora":the latter suffered by comparison,but it's a very worthwhile work that every fan of this great director should see.
2001-08-07
Four stars!!!!!
Billy Wilder's classic "Sunset Blvd." is a masterpiece about suspense, mystery, and intrigue. I think that Gloria Swanson should've gotten an Oscar for her performance as Norma Desmond. Swanson stole the movie and this is one of the best acting I've ever seen.

Rating: 10/10

William Holden and Nancy Olsen did okay jobs as the supporting characters but it was still good. Wilder also did well with the cinematography and directing in this. From the very beginning with the music and the narration, you know that something's going to be excellent.

The plot was also suspenseful when you have two people like Swanson and Holden working together on opposite sides. The idea of having a "Norma Desmond" in "Sunset Blvd." gave it more mystery and made it more interesting.

In conclusion, everybody should watch this movie at least once in their lifetime!
2005-10-05
Hollywood Gothic
With the spotlight on Norma Desmond, one of the greatest movie characters of all time, played majestically by Gloria Swanson, "Sunset Blvd." oozes Hollywood Gothic, in a story that is as bleak as it is timeless.

Although the script's protagonist is Joe Gillis (William Holden), unsuccessful screenwriter and opportunist, the heart and soul of the film resides in the character of older woman Norma Desmond, a reclusive movie star of years gone by, living in the past, vain, egocentric, yearning for a return to the camera.

What makes Norma so memorable is her singular strangeness ... those over-sized hand gestures, eyes bugged-out, ghastly makeup, grandiose emotions, and living with her servant Max (Erich von Stroheim) in that overblown, creepy mansion, antiquated, baroque, and " ... out of beat with the rest of the world, crumbling apart in slow motion." Norma and her world are bleak beyond words. And yet, there's a humor in all that bombastic eccentricity.

And the film's theme runs deep, as it turns on its industry overlords with a stinging indictment of Hollywood suits, cruel and heartless, spitting out actors and writers when they no longer generate money. Hollywood insiders are portrayed thusly as desperate, vain, egocentric, opportunistic, shallow, and delusional, much like Norma and Joe. Indeed, the Hollywood savagery of 1950 looks very much like the Hollywood savagery of today. Thematically, the film has not aged at all.

B&W cinematography captures the story's bleakness well. Sets and props are suitably specific and detailed. The film's score is at times as grandiose and majestic as Norma. And Wilder's stylistic and flamboyant directorial flourishes add to the film's supremacy.

My only complaint pertains to the script. The voice-over narration is a bit overdone. And the second half plot gives a little too much attention to the Betty Schaefer character. It's Norma Desmond that I want to see and listen to.

These quibbles aside, "Sunset Blvd." is one of the great classic films of all time, a noir drama, wonderfully dreary and grim, yet funny, too. And that final sequence with Norma descending the staircase, addressing those around her in a mannered whisper, head tilted back, all bug-eyed and never blinking ... then as she looks into the camera ... Just terrific!
2011-02-07
Revisiting A Masterpiece.
After reading Wilder Times, one of the many biographies of Billy Wilder, just recently, I naturally revisted many of his films in the last few weeks. And today, I have just read of the death of the great Billy Wilder. This has prompted me to write my first review, on the IMDB, of my favourite of this man's long series of great films and screenplays.

Sunset Blvd is suspenseful, witty, and tragic. Brilliantly written and directed, it is a classic for many reasons, but most notably that it is possible to like the movie more each time with each viewing. It may not be possible to appreciate such a detailed and rich film in one viewing. Whether it be the real Hollywood stars in cameos(Buster Keaton, Cecil B. Demille etc), or the skillful casting of Gloria Swanson and Erich Von Stroheim, that adds such a grim reality to their, all ready, well written roles, to just how frank and bleakly honest this movie was for it's time, in it's portrayal of Hollywood.

For William Holden, a very handsome Hollywood leading man, to take on the role of a poor bitter writer,Joe Gillis, was, I consider a brave role, even by many of todays leading man standards. Gloria Swanson prevents the character of Norma becoming a ridiculous caricature and keeps her real and therefore tragic.(None the less, Ms Swanson also gives a famously delicious performance in this feisty role) And Nancy Olsen, who plays a very grounded and honest, Betty Schaefer, perfectly matches the unreality of the world of Norma Desmond.

Goodbye, Billy Wilder. You will be missed.

2002-03-28
More than just about Hollywood
"Sunset Boulevard" is considered to be one of the quintessential Hollywood films. It takes a bitingly satirical look at what makes Hollywood work. However, beneath its surface it is more than just that. It's a uniquely strange look what happens to a prima donna who's fallen from her high horse.

Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a young, down on his luck Hollywood writer. He's just scraping by, trying to hide his car from repo men. He winds up in the house of Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), an aging silent film star who is working on her comeback screenplay. She gives Joe the job of fixing the screenplay, although her aim is basically to have him for company.

The characters are well formed and incredibly well acted, specifically in Joe and Norma. They are three dimensional - each has their own internal struggles and desires. Joe, on one hand, relies on Norma to keep up his good life that it has, but on the other hand wants to go out and be with the girl that he loves. Norma is stuck in the delusion, kept up by her butler Max (Erich von Stroheim), that she is still famous.

Holden and Swanson perform their parts brilliantly. Holden is the man trapped, with no way out. Swanson overacts, intentionally, saying every line with such grandiosity that she perfectly captures the way Norma feels about herself and her perceived stardom.

This movie is about a woman who was once great and has fallen. She reacts to it not with acceptance, but an unconscious denial. She, along with Max, has convinced herself that she is still a star with legions of fans. Joe keeps up the charade because of everything that he is offering her. The idea of the middle aged woman keeping the young man for company is genuinely strange, but it fits the picture that Norma is trapped in the past, and fails to move on, but rather deny it.

"Sunset Boulevard" is a brilliant movie. It works on two levels - as a satire about the hollowness of fame and Hollywood, and also as a look at what happens when one has fallen from grace. Its status as one of the greatest movies of the era is certainly well earned, and it has certainly survived the test of time.

**** out of ****
2002-05-31
Like Traveling To a Strange & Memorable World
Watching this memorable classic is like traveling to a strange and fascinating world. It succeeds as few movies do at drawing you in and setting an atmosphere that is both convincing and interesting. The trio of Holden, Swanson, and von Stroheim make a fine combination, and bring their characters to life most effectively. Aside from a couple of relatively slow stretches, it is crafted with great skill, and it's a film-noir worth watching and re-watching.

Holden's restrained, gently cynical performance is an ideal way to look at the unusual world where Swanson's character, an aging former silent movie star, lives. Swanson succeeds very well at being weird but yet believable, sometimes even sympathetic, and von Stroheim rounds out the picture pretty well as a character with his own quirks. The physical atmosphere of the decaying mansion and its grounds, done with many well-conceived details, is also an effective and important part of the setup. It all works so well because it comes across as true-to-life not just as a portrayal of Hollywood but as a generalized picture of living in a bygone era.

When you have interesting characters, an unusual situation, a good cast, and a director like Billy Wilder to tell you the story, you have rather high expectations. "Sunset Boulevard" does not disappoint.
2002-04-09
All is not as it seems in Hollywood
March 7, 2004

**** Excellent!

"Sunset Boulevard" ranks with "All About Eve" as one of the best written and best acted films of the 1950's. To me, 1950, ranks as high as the golden year of 1939 for Hollywood.

I have just seen "Sunset Boulevard" for the very first time. I was very favorably impressed. "Sunset Boulevard" is the inspiration for all other Hollywood inside story films that came after.

Gloria Swanson plays Norma Desmond who is a lonely insecure once famous silent film star living in isolation with her servant in a lavish, but neglected Hollywood mansion from the 1920's. William Holden plays the role of Joe Gillis, a down on his luck B film Hollywood writer who accidentally discovers her mansion. Erich Von Stroheim plays the loyal house servant Max Von Mayerling to Norma Desmond.

A combination film noir, satire with dark, cynical humor, "Sunset Boulevard" excels. Being narrated by a dead man is a nice dark touch. There are cameos of several famous silent film stars including Buster Keaton, who play themselves in the film. Most notably, Cecile B. DeMile plays himself, who directed Gloria Swanson (in real life) in some of her silent films.

The film has a romance substory that is done well. I believe this substory really serves as a distraction from the film's dark cynical tone.

Both "Sunset Boulevard" and "All About Eve" are two excellent films of the same year (1950). Both were nominated for Academy Awards in many categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Both films had similiar stories. To decide which film was the best film of 1950 was truly difficult and shows the folly of the Academy Awards. Both are excellent films (in different ways): most notably for writing and acting. "Sunset Boulevard" has the advantage of better cinematography for it's film noir, moody look and feel. "All About Eve" does have a "stagey" look and feel to it, using basic and simple cinematography. Both films excel with similiar stories, done with different tone and mood.

"Sunset Boulevard" stands the test of time as a classic film, perhaps better understood and appreciated by film buffs, nonetheless, one of Hollywood's best films.
2004-03-07
very special look at Hollywood
Not a romanticised view of Tinseltown at all, this Billy Wilder movie was more or less ignored on release - the year that All About Eve took all the awards and the kudos. It is a bitter pill to swallow since it takes a kick at Hollywood's guts and has one of the bleakest endings in the whole of cinema.

Joe Gillis, a struggling writer, finds himself in the drive of a Hollywood palazzo when he wants somewhere to hide his car. The house belongs to Norma Desmond, who 'used to be big' in pictures, and Joe gets drawn to Norma and drawn into her weird world of flickering shadows.

The acting honours in this movie go squarely to Gloria Swanson, herself a 'star of yesteryear' as Norma, who is superb as the actress living in the past. Not that she plays Norma as exclusively tragic(the scene where she impersonates Chaplin is priceless) but perhaps no one could get to grips with the demands of this part better. William Holden plays Joe, his breakthrough role, and he does the part very well, while Erich von Stroheim plays faded Hollywood director Max von Mayerling (naturally a reflection of himself), and newcomer Nancy Olson plays Betty, a girl too nice to become submerged just yet in dreamland's poison.

The script is its moments of OTT-ness, but it is never less than interesting and draws in the viewer to the point when you are with Norma when she visits her old studio and talks of the joy of coming home; you are with Joe and Nancy as they fall in love among the cardboard settings of movie sets; and you are in the hall with Hedda Hopper watching Norma's last descent into madness.

The musical version which appeared in the 1990s had the heart and soul of this movie in mind, and was an excellent tribute to it.
2004-03-21
All right, Mr. DeMille
Gloria Swanson must be commended for her bravery in taking a part which may or may not have echoed her own Hollywood career. William Holden took a role which required him to be a kept boy; and he's not the nicest guy in the world either. If this had been made with Mae West and Montgomery Clift, I would probably not be writing this and no one else would give a damn about this movie either.

Both of them got Oscar nominations and I am sorry both lost. I am also sorry that "All About Eve" won Best Picture that year. Of course "Eve" is a great movie, but its not this.

This movie is part of our collective memory and most of the dialogue continues to be quoted even today. Thank God for whatever it was that brought Billy Wilder to Hollywood. I can't think of anyone who did such a wide variety of movies so well.

And please, no remakes.
2000-03-14
A film that I would put in my Top 10 Best list.
I love this film and can't believe I never got around to reviewing it until now, as I've seen it many times. I think I just assumed that I'd written a review for it or neglected to do one since it already has so many good reviews. Regardless, it's one of the best films ever--and possibly the best film Hollywood has to offer--it's THAT good.

I think part of the reason I love this film so much is because it has perhaps the best opening scene in movie history. I adored the film's style and originality here. You hear William Holden narrating--narrating in a wonderfully cynical manner. And, as the camera pans down, you see a corpse floating in a pool. Suddenly, the camera is under water--and you see that the dead man is the narrator himself!! What an amazingly daring scene! And, to seemingly top it off, Norma Desmond's entrance is just sublime. But then you see that the film then works BACKWARD to explain how all this came to be--a truly wonderful style of storytelling! I could talk more about the film, but to me the beginning was THE film. Sure, Holden, Swanson and Von Stroheim were wonderful as well as Jack Webb in an interesting supporting role...but all you will probably remember is the introduction. And the directing and writing is wonderful...but you still keep coming back to the wonderful scene.

The bottom line is that all would-be film makers should be forced to watch this film and learn from it. And, if such a thing COULD be done, let's also force them to watch "12 Angry Men", De Sica's "Children Are Watching Us", Majidi's "The Color of Paradise", and.......
2010-09-10
Download Sunset Blvd. movie 1950 by Billy Wilder Actors: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Jack Webb, Franklyn Farnum, Larry J. Blake, Charles Dayton, Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper, Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson, H.B. Warner, Ray Evans - , the lowest price, high speed.Sunset Blvd. full movie online.Sunset Blvd. HD movie are available too (720p and 1080p). Sunset Blvd. Drama, Film-Noir download. download movies USA
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