Sunset Boulevard (1950) a Masterpiece

Sunset Boulevard 1950

Genre: File Noir

Directed by: Billy Wilder

The story narrates by a dead man named Joe Gillis (William Holden), a struggling screenwriter, selling his work to a producer but his script is not good enough as what Betty Schaeffer (Nancy Olsen) said it was too flat and trite, on his way home he evades two men who were trying to repossess his car, successfully lost them by trespassing to an old parking lot that looked abandoned and saw a Mansion as he described just like the ones in Great Expectations and he was flabbergasted, desperately needed money accepts an offer to write a terrible script about a character named Salome written by a long-forgotten star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), but end up dead in a pool 6 months later.

Who is Norma Desmond?

Alright Mr. De Mille I’m ready for my close up.

An aging Silent Film Star, who was desperately holding on to her past day and night, she created an elaborated fantasy about her much-awaited come back as Salome a fantasy she believed true for she still receives thousands of Fan Mails every day, Norma is an exaggerated epitome of Hollywood’s nightmare, she projected 100% vanity, delusion of grandeur, and denies the reality of her lost career and failure to accept her age and forgotten fame.

Sunset Boulevard was written by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder they wrote a story of a struggling screenwriter who was trying to make ends meet and an actress who was once famous but lost her glory when sound era kicked in, it reveals how Hollywood can be corrupt, and destructive to one soul, to the point of losing its own dignity in exchange for money to get you out of poverty or Attention to be glorified by many, one obvious message of the story is the harsh truth that in the Film Industry youth and beauty don’t last forever, it fades and it will inevitably be forgotten, no matter how glamorous you were in your glorifying days time will pass and a new face will take your place that’s the hard truth.

Behind all the glitz and glamour Hollywood has its dark side, Norma Desmond a disillusioned woman, who trapped in her past and unable to face her own reality for she was consumed with the false Idea that her greatness of being a star will never cease, Hollywood has changed over the last 2 decades she has gone on-screen, she used to be big but as what she said ” I am big it’s the picture that got small”, Joe Gillis was saner although he trapped himself to Norma’s world of madness he tried to fight his way out to face his own reality, but only too late to realize his fate was sealed as he can no longer get away from Norma’s Mad World.

She was still sleep walking along the giddy heights of her lost career playing crazy when it came to that one subject her celluloid self

Joe Gillis

Sunset Boulevard considered one of the greatest Film Noir ever written, many silent actresses offered the role but only Gloria Swanson agreed to play with so much passion that it looks as though she really is playing her own self, for she was long gone and has landed a role of a desperate Actress waiting for a come back that will never come, the darkness of its humor and the bitterness of its tragic ending has left its viewer with awe and amazement, it was well written, with cleverness of thought and bluntness of truth.

2 Replies to “Sunset Boulevard (1950) a Masterpiece”

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