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Sunset Blvd. (1950)

Sunset Blvd poster

Halfway through the twentieth century came another excoriating portrait of life behind the gates in the mansions of Hollywood stars and a glimpse into the dog days of the jobbing screenwriter. When Joe Gillis (William Holden) finds himself in the home of Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) little does he imagine that he will become a pawn in her deluded plans for a comeback and wind up face down in her swimming pool (the film is narrated by his corpse.) A stunning conceit, brilliantly executed, and made by Billy Wilder with regular co-writer and producer Charles Brackett, this is cinematic navel-gazing at its finest by one of its best teams, including Holden, who appeared regularly for Wilder, and Swanson, who was barely 50 yet her glory days were decades behind her.  Erich Von Stroheim, one of her former directors, appears here as her butler, and former director, shielding her from the reality she can no longer face. The film is 65 years old today. Happy Birthday!

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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