Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sunset Boulevard



1950 American Feature

Cast: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough and Jack Webb
Director: Billy Wilder
Writers: Charles Brackett , D.M. Marshman Jr. and Billy Wilder

Synopsis:
When down-on-his-luck screenwriter Joe Gillis stumbles upon the Hollywood mansion of reclusive silent film goddess Norma Desmond, she hires him to write her triumphant return to the silver screen. But when their professional relationship evolves into something more, he discovers the secrets and madness hidden within the mansion's crumbling walls.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 8.6/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 98% / Audience: 94%
  • Metacritic - Audience: 9.1%
  • OMG rating: 10/10

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Books: Available



Trailer:


Awards:
  • Academy Awards for Best Writing - Story and Screenplay, Black and White Art Direction-Set Decoration and Music - Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture; also nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Holden), Actress (Swanson), Supporting Actor (von Stroheim), Supporting Actress (Olson), Black and White Cinematography and Film Editing.
  • Directors Guild of America Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures.
  • Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture - Drama, Director, Actress - Drama (Swanson) and Score; also nominated for Supporting Actor (von Stroheim), Screenplay and Cinematography - Black and White.
  • National Board of Review Awards for Best Film and Actress (Swanson).
  • Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Drama.

Notes/Trivia:
  • Montgomery Clift was originally signed to play Joe Gillis, but broke his contract two weeks prior to filming, allegedly because he (like Joe) was having an affair with a wealthy middle-aged woman — singer and fellow bisexual Libby Holman — and he was afraid the press would find out. Marlon Brando was considered to replace him, but the producers thought he was too much of an unknown as a film actor at that time. Other actors considered for the role included Gene Kelly and Fred MacMurray.
  • Mae West rejected the role of Norma Desmond because she felt she was too young to play a silent film star. Greta Garbo, Mae Murray, Pola Negri, Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer were also considered. It was George Cukor who suggested Gloria Swanson.
  • Director Cecil B. DeMille and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper play themselves in the film, along with silent film actors Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson and H.B. Warner as the "wax works". Gloria Swanson personally asked William Haines to be one of Norma's bridge players, but he declined.
  • There was several attempts to make a stage musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard, including one by Gloria Swanson herself (titled Boulevard!). Such musical theater luminaries as Stephen Sondheim, Hal Prince, John Kander and Fred Ebb all worked on their own versions over the years, without fruition. It wasn't until the 1990s that the Sunset Boulevard musical finally made it to the stage, with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. The original West End production, starring Patti LuPone as Norma, opened in 1993, followed by its American premiere, in Los Angeles with Glenn Close as Norma, later that same year. The show opened on Broadway in 1994, where it was nominated for 11 Tony Awards and won seven, including Best Musical and Best Actress for Close. Other famous Normas in various international productions included Betty Buckley, Diahann Carroll, Petula Clark, Rita Moreno, Elaine Paige, Stefanie Powers and Kim Zimmer, with such well known Joes as Michael Ball, John Barrowman, Hugh Jackman and Rex Smith. A film version of the musical has been rumored for years, with such actresses as Liza Minnelli, Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand named as the next big screen Norma.
  • In 1989, Sunset Boulevard was inducted into the National Film Registry, one of the first 25 films to be so honored (along with another Billy Wilder film, Some Like It Hot).
  • In 1998, Sunset Boulevard was ranked #12 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies" list.
  • In 2005, "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" was ranked #7 and "I am big! It's the pictures that got small" was ranked #24 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes" list.
  • In 2005, Franz Waxman's musical score for Sunset Boulevard was ranked #16 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years of Film Scores" list.
  • In 2007, Sunset Boulevard was ranked #16 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies: 10th Anniversary Edition" list.

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Related OMG Posts:

OMG Movie #364

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