Film 271 in the “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge is 1950’s “Sunset Boulevard”. This Billy Wilder film-noir drama is about an unsuccessful screenwriter, Joe Gillis (William Holden), and a faded silent movie star, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), who draws him into her fantasy world where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen, with Max Von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim), her devoted servant. Well… that was certainly something. I had no idea what to expect. From the opening scene, I remember seeing something similar in an episode of American Dad where Steve dies after falling into a swimming pool full of jelly. This film really had me confused at point. But through the confusion, I powered my way through and found myself liking this film. I had never seen this film going into this so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Especially the ending. Throughout the film, I kept questioning whether I’m suppose to be liking or hating Norma Desmond. Don’t get me wrong, Gloria Swanson did a great job in the role but I wasn’t sure if the character she played was meant to be liked by the audience watching. She came across as someone who think the world revolves around them. Also, was it ever explained why Joe was heading to Dayton, Ohio? I feel like I missed it while typing my notes or the film didn’t tell me. Also, how does someone go from being a husband to a servant of the same woman they had previously married? Overall, this film was enjoyable but it did make me feel like I was on drugs at points trying to figure out what was happening. Fun Fact of the Film – Mae West, Mary Pickford & Pola Negri were all offered the role as Norma Desmond before Gloria Swanson. If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1950’s “Sunset Boulevard”.
Film – Sunset Boulevard
Year – 1950
Director – Billy Wilder
Written by – Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, D.M. Marshman Jr.
Staring – William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
IMDb Rating – 8.6/10
My Rating – 8/10
Length – 105 min (1h 45min)
Genre – Drama, Film-Noir
This opening music is a bit dramatic
Welcome to Los Angeles
And someone’s been shot and the body is left dead in a swimming pool
Flashback to a writer getting his car collected by repo men
Now for a game of “hide the car and hope no one spots it”
Better leave it a Paramount Pictures while I pitch a movie
You turned down “Gone With the Wind” – Bad move, slick
There’s a train that delivers gravy?!?
Why does he need $300? – Think they explained it earlier but I missed it
Crap! The repo men have spotted me! Better flee through the Hollywood Hills
Bad time to be getting a flat tyre
So… Rather than pay a fine and lose his car, he’s hiding it in someone’s garage and using the money for a bus ticket to Dayton, Ohio
Look, can you help me? Wait… There’s a woman wanting to see me! Ok, bye
Why does she have a dead chimp in her room?
How does someone strangle people with words?
Is it me or does Norma full of herself?
Also, who wears sunglasses indoors
That is the weirdest cigarette holder I’ve ever seen
Sounds like Norma’s script is rubbish – Like her career
Wait… She only hires people based on their zodiac signs
Everyone seems to be a little bit cuckoo – And there’s no Coco Pops in sight
Wait…. Watching a funeral is “queer”?!
Norma is clearly a bad writer. She doesn’t number her pages
Wait… How is Joe’s stuff get in that room?
Oh, Max brought them
Is that meant to be a scarf she’s wearing?
Why does Norma need all those photos of herself?
Also, what famous actor/actress spends all day watching their own films – Wait….Didn’t Shia LaBeaof do that a few weeks ago
Yep… Norma is full of herself
NO!!!!! They’re towed my car
Gold plated interior and leopard print seats – Money wasted
Is Joe a writer or a soon-to-be new butler?
Well… If Norma’s paying for everything… I’LL HAVE THE MOST EXPENSIVE SUIT EVER!!!!
Damn rain flooded by bedroom
What doctor orders someone to remove all the locks from all the doors
So… Because Hollywood “developed ears” Norma wanted to kill herself
Wait… You having a New Year’s Eve party and not invite anyone but the band and Max
Ok… after reading the plot on the back of the DVD cover, I’m confused
What celebrity buys an oil plant in Bakersfield
Aha! All this was over love in Norma’s eyes
I don’t care that it’s raining, I’m off for a walk
Oh yeah, I’m suppose to be meeting Artie for a bus ticket to Dayton
Don’t you hate it when your boyfriend won’t let his girlfriend talk to a friend who just happens to be a man
Better give Norma a call
Max tells Joe that Norma just slit her wrists
53 minutes in and I’m not sure what’s happening
Wait… Did Norma and Joe just have New Year’s sex?!
Today’s the day I send my script to Paramount
Somehow, playing “A Rumor of Skin” by Stone Sour fits this film
Joe finds Artie and his girlfriend in a drug store
Sounds like Joe’s “Dark Windows” script is a go
Only Joe doesn’t want it
Well… That’s one way to get someone to stop smoking
Erm.. Why is Norma dressed and acting like Chaplin?
Wait… You won’t speak to assisstants
What if the assisstant had good/bad news regarding Norma’s script?
Good thing I have an old friend working as a bouncer at Paramount otherwise we’d be a bit stuck
Aha, Norma’s script was crap
Wait…. Who’s Gordon Cole?
Oh, hey Hog-eye
Ha! Gordon wants to borrow her car for a Bing Crosby film
She’s not even re-hired and she’s already making demands in her contract
Joe then meets Betty about “Dark Windows”
After a bit of research, there is a film called “Dark Windows” – It’s a short horror film released in 2009 (3.1/10 on IMDb)
Well… Better tell Norma that Paramount want her car… or not
Well… That’s one way to get rid of Norma
Good God she looks like a Barbie doll
Pretty sure human skin is not meant to look plastic
So… Is Norma keeping Joe locked up in her house because he’s lonely
Now Norma is asleep, better see Betty at night to work on “Dark Windows”
Wait… Why does Joe have a signed cigarette case from Norma
$300 for a nose job?!
“Nothing like being 22” – I’m 22
Joe returns to find Max in the garage to talk
Wait… Max was Norma’s original director
Eh…. Max was Norma’s first husband
Meanwhile, Norma looks like she’s seen a ghost…. Oh not it’s Joe
Whoops! Norma found Joe’s “Dark Windows” script and now knows all about Betty
Betty gets news that Artie wants her to see him in Arizona and get married
Wait… Weddings in Arizona cost $2!
Who needs Artie when you have Joe
Norma somehow gets a hold of Betty’s phone number while Joe easedrops
All that surgery and it made her look older
Somehow I agree with Joe and just letting Norma feel ashamed
Wait… Who buys a ceiling from Portugal?
Wait… Who’s side is Joe on? Betty or Norma?
So… Joe is making Betty marry Artie so he can give them Norma’s mansion?!?
Well… I’ve had enough and I’m leaving for Dayton
Better tell the truth to Norma
And Norma has officially lost it
And Norma just shot Joe three times with a gun
Wait… How is Joe doing a monolague if he’s dead
And Norma doesn’t pay any attention to any reporters unless there’s a camera
Wait.. Is Max making a film out of this arrest
What the hell is going on?
I feel like I’m on drugs
That’s the ending! JESUS!!!!