General ramblings

Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Sunset Boulevard is the story of a yester year movie star, Norma Desmond, who dreams of making a come back to the screen. She entraps a young, unemployed writer, Joe Gillis, by making him financial dependent on her. Her loneliness and insecurity makes her fall in love with him. Feeding her vain ego is her in house servant cum driver, Max, who continues to mail her fake fan letters. The ambience and the general set up of the movie reminds me of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Norma Desmond’s character is quite similar to Miss Havisham’s, in that she stays in an old, crumbling palace, and is extremely detached from the reality of the outside world. Her fear of finally realizing that the world has moved on and that she’s no more a star has made her set up a mini theater at home, where she watches re-runs of her silent movies. Her house is decorated with tons of frames carrying pictures of young Norma Desmond.

What’s interesting about the movie is that the lead role of Norma Desmond has been played by Gloria Swanson, who was a famous star during the silent movie era. She lost her foot hold in the movie industry with the advent of “talkies”. This was touted to her come back movie and what a come back it was- the movie was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, out of which, it won three- Best Music, Best Art Direction- Set Decortation and Best Writing.

One of the best scenes in the movie is the one where Joe Gillis walks into Norma’s room for the first time- Norma has mistaken him to be a coffin dealer and shows Joe the dead body of her monkey. Gloria Swanson’s acting as the old woman who’s gone mad couldn’t have been better. William Holden, as the struggling writer is a treat to watch too.

One of my absolute favorites so far!

Rating: 9/10


9 thoughts on “Sunset Boulevard (1950)

  1. I need to echo Suda here! 9/10. Wow! I have heard that this movie is good but I guess I missed it because I don’t usually like to watch dvd’s. at one time old movies used to run as matinee shows in theatres, but now that has stopped. i guess i need to watch more dvds.

  2. lallopallo says:

    Though I personally liked Billy Widler’s ‘Apartment’ and ‘Double Indemnity’ more than this one, Sunset Boulevard is perhaps his most famous movie. I think SB was really well done and very entertaining. The film came out in 1950 when Hollywood was entering into it’s golden age..Many people of this generation after seeing SB or simlar classics complain that what was so great about them..they fail to see that considering the times and development of cinema by then, a movie such as SB was really outstanding.

  3. i must have heard the name of this movie…..but i have never watched it…but it was an interesting review ….besides i have hardly any idea of yester year movie cant really say much about it 😛

  4. Suda- 🙂

    Nita- yes, it becomes important to get DVDs in order to catch old movies. You’ll hardly find these movies being shown on movie channels/theaters.

    Reema, Amit, Kiran, Arpit- Yes, don’t miss it! 🙂

    Lallo- This is the first Billy Widler movie that I’ve watched! I need to watch the other two soon. I really liked this movie and you’re say that the other two are even better 🙂 More reasons to rejoice. I think I belong to today’s generation, but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating good, old movies. We will always find good movies in all generations.

  5. Sounds nice. And finally I get something to download! Thanks to the Ruhi! 😀

    Btw, are you into Silent movies? My massi gifted me a collection a long time back and they were kinda, er, boring. But most of them didn’t really have a story. I lost the DVD damnit.

    However, the one thing that was really interesting about them was the way in which they achieved the camera effects which modern cameras do with technology. For example for all blurred kinda things, they actually used to rub wax on the lens of the camera and the effect was brilliant. Innovation really showed.

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