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Sunset Blvd

Sunset Blvd

Billy Wilder (1950)

105min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Even the title of this dark, deeply satisfying work of cinematic genius can be read as a metaphor for the Hollywood machine and the long fading twilight of once-glittering careers. Master director Billy Wilder's witty, brilliantly constructed Tinseltown satire is both canny and knowing about the film industry and those souls unfortunate, and yet willing, enough to be caught in its wheels. The stark story of former movie queen Norma Desmond, haunted by memories of her past greatness ("I am big. It's the pictures that got small"), is greatly aided by superb casting, notably of silent-movie siren Gloria Swanson, who brings a desperate, vampiric glamour to the role of Norma. William Holden (a last minute replacement for Montgomery Clift) is also excellent as doomed writer Joe Gillis, who narrates the film in flashback from the scene of his death. Savage, dark and wholly original, this is Hollywood laid bare. Re-released in a spectacular restored version in 2002, it's too good to miss.

Summary

A faded film star from the silent-movie era is fixated with making a comeback. When she meets a struggling screenwriter on the run from debt collectors, she persuades him to write a script that will mark her spectacular return to the screen. However, he takes advantage of the deluded actress, becoming her lover in a relationship where their mutual deceit ends in tragedy. Drama, with Gloria Swanson, William Holden and Eric von Stroheim.

Cast & Crew

Joe C Gillis William Holden (2)
Norma Desmond Gloria Swanson
Max Von Mayerling Erich von Stroheim
Betty Schaefer Nancy Olson
Sheldrake Fred Clark
Morino Lloyd Gough
Artie Green Jack Webb
Undertaker / Courtier Franklyn Farnum
First finance man Larry J Blake
Second finance man Charles Drayton
Cecil B DeMille Cecil B DeMille
Hedda Hopper Hedda Hopper
Buster Keaton Buster Keaton
Anna Q Nilsson Anna Q Nilsson
HB Warner H B Warner
Ray Evans Ray Evans
Jay Livingston Jay Livingston
Sidney Skolsky Sidney Skolsky
Bernice Mosk Bernice Mosk
Director Billy Wilder
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Other Information

Language: English Black and White Theatrical distributor: BFI Available on: Available on video, DVD and BluRay Released on: 14 Mar 2003

Drama

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