Film Notes: Sunset Boulevard (1950), directed by Billy Wilder


USA /110-115 minutes / bw / Paramount Dir: Billy Wilder Pro: Charles Brackett Scr: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and D. M. Marshman Jr Cine: John F. Seitz Mus: Franz Waxman. Cast: William Holden (Joe Gillis), Gloria Swanson (Norma Desmond), Erich von Stroheim (Max von Mayerling), Nancy Olsen (Betty Schaefer), Fred Clark (Sheldrake), Lloyd Gough (Morino), Jack Webb (Artie Green). As themselves: Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper, Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson, H. B. Warner, Ray Evans, Jay Livingston. Release Date (USA) 10 August 1950. Spanish title: El crepúsculo de los dioses.

suns The film stars William Holden as Joe Gillis, an unsuccessful screenwriter, and Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded silent movie star who draws him into her fantasy world where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen, with Erich von Stroheim as Max Von Mayerling, her devoted servant. Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough and Jack Webb play supporting roles. Director Cecil B. DeMille and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper play themselves, and the film includes cameo appearances by leading silent film actors Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner and Anna Q. Nilsson. Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards (including nominations in all four acting categories) and won three. It is widely accepted as a classic, often cited as one of the greatest films of American cinema. Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1989, Sunset Boulevard was included in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. (Source: Wikipedia)

In Jul 1993, in London, Andrew Lloyd Webber opened his musical adaptation of this film, also titled Sunset Blvd. The film continues to have an avid following among modern audiences, and lines such as “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small” are remembered as part of celebrated Hollywood legend. According to modern sources, Sunset Blvd. was the last major American feature film to be photographed on nitrate stock. The picture was ranked 16th on AFI’s 2007 100 Years…100 Movies–10th Anniversary Edition list of the greatest American films, moving down from the 12th position it held on AFI’s 1997 list. (Source: AFI)

Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch once again this indisputable masterpiece.

Roger Ebert review

Filmsite Movie Review

The American Film Institute (AFI) Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Boulevard Blu-ray edition

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