Day 311: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

sunsetboulevardfilmposterThere are only seven Sundays left this year after today if you can believe that and t has been quite some time since we last did Sunday At The Classics. So, I figured we better get to those classics and I chose one in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard (the famous street in Hollywood). Joe Gillis (Damien: The Omen II‘s William Holden) is a struggling writer in Hollywood who is desperately in search of the solution to all of his problems when he stumbles upon a white elephant (what looks to be a big abandoned house) on Sunset Boulevard. What he discovers inside the house is a forgotten relic in former Silent film star Norma Desmond (Queen Kelly‘s Gloria Swanson). After agreeing to finish a script she had written, he soon discovers that he is stuck and that there is no way out as Norma still thinks that she is a wanted star, but she’s really just out of her mind. The film also stars Erich von Stroheim (Blind Husbands) as Max Von Mayerling, Nancy Olson (The Absent Minded Professor) as Betty Schaefer, Jack Webb (Pete Kelly’s Blues) as Artie Green, Cecil B. DeMille (The Ten Commandments) as himself, Buster Keaton (The General) as Himself, and the film was directed by Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot).

SUNSET BOULEVARDWilliam Holden does an amazing job in the film handling double duty as he stars and narrates the whole film. I loved how the film starts at the end and he goes back in time to tell you his tragic tale of how he got there. The film is a real tragic tale of how desperate people in Hollywood can get when the chips are down. All he wanted was a place to store his car until he could figure out how to pay the bank. He agrees to finish the script for this actress and he gets stuck in it as she obsesses over him. She is just so out of touch with reality that it’s a crime itself, but with a woman with so much money to lose, what are the people closest to her supposed to do? Gloria Swanson is also an amazing actress who does a terrific job in the film and even delivered the most famous line ever, “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.” It was cool to see actual old silent film stars like Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Anna Q. Nilsson, and H. B. Warner because it was like old Hollywood vs new Hollywood. The story is very solid for this film and a strong point in my opinion. The acting is also amazing and is what made this a great film to begin with. There is always going to be the argument of B&W vs Color film, but B&W makes the film look timeless and it enriches the shadows and the light of the picture. Make your own choice, but I love B&W. The film is available on Netflix right now as we speak and I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.