Author Topic: Sunset Blvd. (1950)  (Read 1306 times)

Offline Antares

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Sunset Blvd. (1950)
« on: May 15, 2010, 10:15:21 PM »
Sunset Blvd.

Year: 1950
Film Studio: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Drama
Length: 110 Min.

Billy Wilder (1906)

Charles Brackett (1892)...Written By
Billy Wilder (1906)...Written By
D. M. Marshman Jr....Written By

Charles Brackett (1892)

John F. Seitz (1892)

Franz Waxman (1906)...Music Score

William Holden (1918) as Joseph C. 'Joe' Gillis
Gloria Swanson (1899) as Norma Desmond
Erich von Stroheim (1885) as Max Von Mayerling
Nancy Olson (1928) as Betty Schaefer
Fred Clark (1914) as Sheldrake
Lloyd Gough (1907) as Morino
Jack Webb (1920) as Artie Green
Franklyn Farnum (1878) as Undertaker - Chimp's Funeral

       In 1950, two films would be released that painted a darker, more cynical picture of the entertainment industry, All about Eve and Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd.. The former would tell the tale of a ruthless and conniving actress who would stop at nothing to achieve the fame and star status that she had craved all her life. The latter would focus on the other end of the spectrum, a faded icon of the silent screen, discarded by Hollywood and forgotten by the viewing public. While All about Eve focuses primarily on one aspiring actresses' manipulative ascent to her desired throne, Sunset Blvd. is the more scathing exposé of a system that builds up, chews up, and then casts away the remnants after it has served its purpose. Wilder slings mud at every facet of the movie industry, from the studio executives who treat their stars as just cogs in the studio machine, to the media that preys upon the fallen with the voracity of shark's in a feeding frenzy. As a result, when Oscar time rolled around, though nominated in all the major categories, it would be primarily shunned by the industry as a whole, winning only for Best Art Direction, Original Score and Writing.

       An ironic twist in the story has Gloria Swanson's character, Norma Desmond, viewing a silent film from her days as the reigning screen queen. The film that was used, Queen Kelly, was the flop that would begin Swanson's descent into obscurity and would be director Erich von Stroheim's personal Heavens Gate. He would run excessively over budget and would be eventually fired by the producer, who just happened to be Swanson. Years later he would take aim at the system that did not appreciate his artistic vision, and the result would be a quote that best describes this movie; "If you live in France and you have written one good book, or painted one good picture, or directed one outstanding film, fifty years ago, and nothing ever since, you are still recognized as an artist and honored accordingly. ... In Hollywood, you're as good as your last picture. If you didn't have one in production in the last three months you're forgotten, no matter what you have achieved ere this. It is that terrific, unfortunately necessary egotism in the makeup of the people who make the cinema; it is the continuous endeavor for recognition, that continuous struggle for survival and supremacy, among the newcomers, that relegates the old-timers to the ash-can." With the emergence of successful independent film companies creating artistic films that are competing financially and aesthetically against the big blockbuster projects in Hollywood today, had he been born 100 years later, I wonder how he would have fared?

Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2010, 06:37:21 PM by Antares »