🎦 Sunset Blvd. full movie HD download (Billy Wilder) - Drama, Film-Noir. 🎬
Sunset Blvd.
Drama, Film-Noir
IMDB rating:
Billy Wilder
William Holden as Joseph C. 'Joe' Gillis
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond
Erich von Stroheim as Max Von Mayerling
Nancy Olson as Betty Schaefer
Fred Clark as Sheldrake
Lloyd Gough as Morino
Jack Webb as Artie Green
Franklyn Farnum as Undertaker - Chimp's Funeral
Larry J. Blake as First Finance Man (as Larry Blake)
Charles Dayton as Second Finance Man
Hedda Hopper as Herself
Buster Keaton as Himself - Bridge Player
Anna Q. Nilsson as Herself - Bridge Player
H.B. Warner as Himself - Bridge Player
Storyline: The story, set in '50s Hollywood, focuses on Norma Desmond, a silent-screen goddess whose pathetic belief in her own indestructibility has turned her into a demented recluse. The crumbling Sunset Boulevard mansion where she lives with only her butler, Max who was once her director and husband has become her self-contained world. Norma dreams of a comeback to pictures and she begins a relationship with Joe Gillis, a small-time writer who becomes her lover, that will soon end with murder and total madness.
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Reel Life Gothic
Every time I go to L.A., which isn't too often, I look at these palm-bemused, once smart stucco facades, and wonder if a Norma Desmond from a later era might be hiding from the world inside them, buttressed by cable TV (AMC or TCM, no doubt), a poodle named FiFi or Sir Francis, walk-in closets full of leopard-print Capri pants that haven't fit in decades, and a world class liquor cabinet that has seen heads of state under the table on a good night. It is because of Sunset Blvd., for certain, that my mind could ever go there. It is one of the most indelible films you will ever see.

This film is great for many reasons, not the least of which is because it is Hollywood's first look back at itself. In the milieu of this film, the silent era is only 22 years behind us. The people left behind by the rush to sound can still palpably TASTE the fame, the accolade, that particular past being not so very dim and distant. The sadness of their lives was real, and at that point in history, all around, if hidden. Way more has been made of the supposed "savagery" of this film vis a vis the faded star than I think exists now, or ever did. The often cynical Wilder is deeply in touch with the tragic here, as much as the grotesque.
Hollywoods best about Hollywoods worst.
Gloria Swanson, William Holden and Erich von Stroheim star in this Billy Wilder cinematic masterpiece about an aging essentially forgotten silent film star who has delusions about returning to pictures. Made in 1950 this film will capture the viewer each time it is seen. The references to the bygone silent movie era are somehow chilling. Much like when a person walks around ancient Rome or Egypt wondering how something so powerful and advanced could come to an end. Both Swanson and Stroheim were of course giants during the silent film years and their performances is this great movie even seem to show their perhaps real life animosity toward talking films.

Holden as Joe Gillis a rapidly becoming down on his like screen writer who stumbles into Swansons world is fantastic. This is certainly one motion picture that could never and should never be remade or colorized, as the Black and White photography is brilliant. It didn't make AFI's top five of all time and perhaps should have. You can't consider yourself as one of "All those wonderful people out there in the dark" if you've never seen Sunset Blvd.
Dead in street...
SUNSET BOULEVARD will always be inextricably linked to ALL ABOUT EVE. They both came out the same year; they both star legendary actresses playing legendary actresses; they both are cynical, sometimes savage in their estimation of show business. And, of course, they are both great films.

But they are very different stylistically and philosophically. A primary difference is that EVE is about a survivor. Bette Davis' Margo Channing in EVE accepts, perhaps grudgingly, that change is inevitable. Either she adapts to reality, or she loses all. That is what makes Margo more than just "a great star, a true star." Margo's rival, Eve Harrington, may someday end up like BOULEVARD's Norma Desmond, but Margo Channing never will.

But if EVE is about life, SUNSET BOULEVARD is about death. Even their titles suggest this: "Eve" being the first bearer of life and "sunset" being the approaching night. In BOULEVARD, Gloria Swanson's Norma Desmond is to some extent already dead by the time the film starts, locked away in a haunted house, coming out only for the funeral of her pet monkey. She is bound by reputation and profession to a type of film-making that is long dead and nearly forgotten. Her life, like her career, is based on illusions of life.

The prevailing interpretation of SUNSET BOULEVARD assumes that Norma is one of Hollywood's victims; that the town and the industry turned its back on her when she was no longer a star, her career sabotaged by the coming of sound in motion pictures. I don't buy that. The film clearly shows us that at age 50 Norma is still vibrant, still beautiful, still energetic and eager to make movies. Plus, she is filthy rich. This is not a woman who would walk away from movie making because she is afraid of her own voice. Indeed, her voice is magnificent; sultry, insinuating and theatrical. I don't think Norma went mad because Hollywood turned its back on her, rather Hollywood turned its back on her because she went mad.

I don't think we are getting the full story here. Something may have drove Norma mad, but it wasn't talking pictures. Indeed, she may have been unstable all along, but I think there is something in her past that destroyed her, and I suspect that involves Max (Erich von Stroheim). In his "Great Movies" essay, Roger Ebert suggests that the love between Norma and Max, her ex-husband/ex-director/butler, is the heart of the story; that it's Max's love of Norma that validates her continued existence. I don't see that. I suspect that Max is less a servant than a caretaker or even a jailer. Max (like Joe Gillis, Norma's erstwhile boytoy) may be trapped in Norma's web, but it is a web of his own making. He appears subservient, but he is the one in control, he perpetuates her delusions and enables her madness. I even suspect that he only allows Joe into the situation because he knows that Joe is weak and no real threat to his power; and that he suspects that it will help placate Norma by feeding her fantasy of a comeback. There is more than adoration that cements the relationship between Max and Norma; perhaps guilt, jealousy, desperation -- who knows? All I know is that it is best kept as a subtext, a part of the film's impenetrable mystery. The less we understand Norma, the more intriguing she is.

However, if I were to be so bold as to make one major change in SUNSET BOULEVARD, it would be to replace William Holden as Joe Gillis. I respect Holden as an actor, but his screen persona has always been one of strength and -- if not integrity -- confidence; he is not one who plays vulnerable with any conviction. Plus, he doesn't play the part of Gillis with any gentle shadings. The "romance" between Norma and Joe is the least convincing aspect of the film. Joe treats her with barely concealed contempt and a bit of occasional pity, which makes it hard to believe that a self-absorbed diva would even tolerate him, let alone make him the house pet. The role of Joe was originally intended for Montgomery Clift, an actor with a proven ability to appear passive, even as he plays sinister. His work in THE HEIRESS and A PLACE IN THE SUN illustrate this point. I see Joe Gillis, not as a bored hanger-on, but as sycophant who is in awe of Norma, even as he exploits her, and therefore he doesn't realize that he actually is the one who is being used (sort of a younger version of Max). I think Joe should be someone who is cunning, but naive about his own limits, not someone who is already bitter, corrupt and cynical as the story begins.

Maybe I am wrong, but I get the feeling that Holden was very uncomfortable playing the part of, well, a mistress, and especially one kept by such an older woman. Perhaps his manhood was threatened and that uneasiness shows. Clift, or an equally rakish young actor like, say, Farley Granger or Robert Wagner, would enliven the story and make the romance with the perpetually needy Norma more credible. I don't think it is enough that the film shows that Norma enjoys manipulating Joe, I think it has to also be implied that to a certain extent Joe loves being manipulated. The relationship is after all a romance and to be credible as long-term there has to be the spark that it is mutually enjoyable. Holden's interpretation that Joe is just doing it for the money just doesn't ring true. While a pairing of the aging diva with an ambitious -- and yes, probably gay -- younger man is practically a show business institution.

Yet, even with these reservations, it is undeniable that SUNSET BOULEVARD is quite a film. A little bit Hollywood satire, a little bit moralistic fable and whole lot of Gothic melodrama. And Swanson's just-not-quite over the top performance is mesmerizing. It was assumed that BOULEVARD would revitalize Swanson's career. It didn't. But apparently, it didn't matter to her: she dabbled in acting now and again, when the part amused her, but she had better things to do with her life. Swanson played Norma Desmond, but she lived life as Margo Channing.
All is not as it seems in Hollywood
March 7, 2004

**** Excellent!

"Sunset Boulevard" ranks with "All About Eve" as one of the best written and best acted films of the 1950's. To me, 1950, ranks as high as the golden year of 1939 for Hollywood.

I have just seen "Sunset Boulevard" for the very first time. I was very favorably impressed. "Sunset Boulevard" is the inspiration for all other Hollywood inside story films that came after.

Gloria Swanson plays Norma Desmond who is a lonely insecure once famous silent film star living in isolation with her servant in a lavish, but neglected Hollywood mansion from the 1920's. William Holden plays the role of Joe Gillis, a down on his luck B film Hollywood writer who accidentally discovers her mansion. Erich Von Stroheim plays the loyal house servant Max Von Mayerling to Norma Desmond.

A combination film noir, satire with dark, cynical humor, "Sunset Boulevard" excels. Being narrated by a dead man is a nice dark touch. There are cameos of several famous silent film stars including Buster Keaton, who play themselves in the film. Most notably, Cecile B. DeMile plays himself, who directed Gloria Swanson (in real life) in some of her silent films.

The film has a romance substory that is done well. I believe this substory really serves as a distraction from the film's dark cynical tone.

Both "Sunset Boulevard" and "All About Eve" are two excellent films of the same year (1950). Both were nominated for Academy Awards in many categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Both films had similiar stories. To decide which film was the best film of 1950 was truly difficult and shows the folly of the Academy Awards. Both are excellent films (in different ways): most notably for writing and acting. "Sunset Boulevard" has the advantage of better cinematography for it's film noir, moody look and feel. "All About Eve" does have a "stagey" look and feel to it, using basic and simple cinematography. Both films excel with similiar stories, done with different tone and mood.

"Sunset Boulevard" stands the test of time as a classic film, perhaps better understood and appreciated by film buffs, nonetheless, one of Hollywood's best films.
Give It At Least Two Looks
On my first viewing, I wasn't particularly impressed with this movie but I liked it a lot more on the second and by the third - when it's magnificently transferred on DVD - I was fan, too. This is a good visual film, particularly when it shows the inside of this incredible mansion where a lot of the scenes take place.

To those who have never seen it, you are warned that it is not an easy film to view, it being a portrait of a pathetic has-been silent movie star who still thinks she can come back after a long hiatus and be a star again.

Gloria Swanson, who plays the role, overacts and certainly is not appealing, even bordering on grotesque at times, but she isn't supposed to look good. That's one of the points of the story. Anyway, a young William Holden, in his first starring role, is okay and also provides the narration.

The most interesting figure in the film to me was the ex-husband-now butler, played by Eric von Stroheim. He's amazing in this film. In supporting roles, I also enjoyed the wholesome Nancy Olsen and the young Jack Webb of "Dragnet" fame.

This combination of drama-soap opera-film noir is one of the professional critics all-time favorite films. Odd how they love movies and Hollywood stars so much, yet relish films that tear them down, as this does.
Greatness Boulevard.
Generally considered as Wilder's peak,it lives up to its reputation.Fifty years later,it remains the best movie about movie world,not only hollywoodian .One hundred times plagiarized,never surpassed. First of all,there 's the Swanson/Von Stroheim couple.He directed her in the famous "Queen Kelly"(another must of the silent movies).Von Stroheim was too ahead of his time,his movies scared the censors ,so he was not allowed to pursue a career that would have been stunning in the talkies.Here he became (supreme downfall),Swanson's butler ,while we see one of his former colleagues,Cecil B. De Mille,playing his own role,still directing.Von Stroheim's character is called "Max von Mayerling" ,probably one of Wilder's private jokes: Stroheim once said he was the son of a lady in waiting of Austrian Empress Elisabeth (Sissi) whose son Rudolph committed suicide in Mayerling!And Wilder was Austrian too. Swanson is impressive too.The comeback myth is the dream of every actor whose star is slowly but inexorably fading.that she continues viewing her old -and real!- triumphs like "Queen Kelly,that she's writing an extravaganza shows that her comeback desire has reached the point of no return and that her only place in this world is the asylum.What Swanson did not achieve in the movie,she did it for real:she really could come back(as Lilian Gish),her performance,particularly in the last scene ,has stood the test of time. Wilder as a scriptwriter outdoes himself here;lines like "I'm still big;it's the pictures that got small" could be pronounced today ! 25 years later,he would try to update "sunset blvd" with "Fedora":the latter suffered by comparison,but it's a very worthwhile work that every fan of this great director should see.
Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.
It is among the best and most tragic exit lines in film. And it also leads directly to the best conclusion (I feel) in movies in terms of proper cinematography: the clouding of the focus as Norma Desmond descends the staircase into her madness. Rarely does a film end so satisfactorily and perfectly.

SUNSET BLVD. was not the first film to look at the uncertainties of cinematic success and fame. A STAR IS BORN had done so in the in 1937. It showed how as a star is nurtured by the system to great fame, another prominent star descends into oblivion and death. So why (if the story theme was not new) was SUNSET BLVD. such a tremendous hit and classic from it's first appearance in 1950? It boiled down to this: the personal poison of the great fame of the silent screen star Norma was not mirrored precisely in the fall of say Norman Main (although their two first names bear an uncanny resemblance). Norman had always had a drinking problem which he never controlled. Norma was not into that - she was always into a healthy physical lifestyle (except for smoking), but the effect of her publicity and the fan mail pushed her egomania to great heights. It made her so egocentric that she can only think of the people around her in her immediate cycle as the greatest representatives of all those millions of unseen fans - the wonderful people out there in the dark. They are there for her adoration only. Norman Main, in comparison, did find a measure of happiness in Vicki Lester, whom he discovered and helped to find her true potential. He was more selfless, to the point (as it turned out) of self-destruction. Not really like Norma Desmond. To her people are there to serve Gods and Goddesses called stars.

One might also notice that Joe Gillis is not Vicki Lester. Joe and Vicki were both ambitious, but Joe really wasn't as interested in Norma (aside from giving him room, board, and a temporary job), as Vicki was in Norman. There was a mutual attraction there (Norman was not incredibly older than Vicki, as opposed to Norma's older age compared to Joe's). Joe also had his girlfriend/collaborator Betty Schaeffer. Vicki had no other lover on the outside - it was only Norman. That is why, when he commits suicide, Vicki goes into seclusion.

There is a triangular figure in SUNSET BLVD. for Norma, in her butler Max Von Mayerling. He had been her first director and husband, and he is also (in his over-devotion to her) feeding her ego by writing hundreds of fan letters to her to keep her emotionally happy. It is a sign of her insanity that she never notices that the letters are written by the same hand.

Wilder had used Eric Von Stroheim in FIVE GRAVES TO CAIRO as Rommel, so he knew what it was like working with him. Supposedly when Von Stroheim was being directed by Billy Wilder he wanted to throw in various tics and sexual habits for Max (like his carefully washing Norma's underclothes) which Wilder managed to push aside. Von Stroheim's performance (one of his greatest) was not harmed by these cuts, although one wonders what his performance would have seemed like if they had been retained. But by reducing the neurotic behavior of Max (to just his pathetic need to be near Norma to support her) it keeps us concentrating on Norma's psychosis - where it should be.

Norma is the driving force to the end, pulling the wires that manipulate Max, Joe, Betty, even (out of a sense of pity) Cecil B. DeMille and his production staff (example: the light man "Hogeye"). Even with the "waxwork" friends who crop up for cards, Norma seems to be in control (they all congregate to see her - the richest among them). Even with people who are supposedly independent (the funeral home people who cater to her burying her pet monkey; the salesman on commission who urges Joe to buy the vicuña coat) she manages to keep this control. She is the central sun/"Star" in this galaxy - and cannot brook any deviation. The rejection of the ungrateful Joe can only be appeased physically by his death, and emotionally by her mind clouding that failure and it's aftermath from her memory. From the start of the film, with all her egocentricity at work, only a psychic slap in the face was missing to complete the tragedy. Then she was finally ready for that close-up.
Revisiting A Masterpiece.
After reading Wilder Times, one of the many biographies of Billy Wilder, just recently, I naturally revisted many of his films in the last few weeks. And today, I have just read of the death of the great Billy Wilder. This has prompted me to write my first review, on the IMDB, of my favourite of this man's long series of great films and screenplays.

Sunset Blvd is suspenseful, witty, and tragic. Brilliantly written and directed, it is a classic for many reasons, but most notably that it is possible to like the movie more each time with each viewing. It may not be possible to appreciate such a detailed and rich film in one viewing. Whether it be the real Hollywood stars in cameos(Buster Keaton, Cecil B. Demille etc), or the skillful casting of Gloria Swanson and Erich Von Stroheim, that adds such a grim reality to their, all ready, well written roles, to just how frank and bleakly honest this movie was for it's time, in it's portrayal of Hollywood.

For William Holden, a very handsome Hollywood leading man, to take on the role of a poor bitter writer,Joe Gillis, was, I consider a brave role, even by many of todays leading man standards. Gloria Swanson prevents the character of Norma becoming a ridiculous caricature and keeps her real and therefore tragic.(None the less, Ms Swanson also gives a famously delicious performance in this feisty role) And Nancy Olsen, who plays a very grounded and honest, Betty Schaefer, perfectly matches the unreality of the world of Norma Desmond.

Goodbye, Billy Wilder. You will be missed.

Like Icarus, Hollywood flies to close to the sun, its wings melt and it crashes
Sunset Boulevard represents everything that is unsaid about Hollywood. It cruelly, yet accurately represents Hollywood in the same way that Citizen Kane so cruelly and accurately represents the world of business.

Sunset waste no time. It throws us straight into the middle of what appears to be a mystery, but soon becomes a tragedy, and perhaps even an allegory of Old Hollywood meeting New Hollywood and not liking it one bit, a story of unwelcome but necessary progression.

We meet Joe Gillis (William Holden) within seconds of the opening credits. The twist? He's a dead. Shot and floating in a swimming pool - a pool that he has always wanted (perhaps even more than to be a writer). Joe then starts to narrate, telling us how he came to be in the pool. He was a down and out writer, living in a small flat with debts to pay. One day the debts catch up and he finds himself making a run for it. He winds up taking a wrong turn into the grounds of an old house. That house is owned by Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a middle aged actress who is past her prime but refuses to accept it and move on with her life. This is where Joe's nightmare begins, as he is effectively held captive, desperate for money, by a woman who is desperate for admiration and love and who will give anything for it, and in the end do anything to prevent the illusion from collapsing on front of her.

This is where we see for the first time, that Norma could represent Old Hollywood (the past), whilst Joe could represent New Hollywood (the future).

Norma and Old Hollywood are stuck in their ways. They hate the idea of progression, hate new talent, hate anything that changes the status quo and could go on to destroy them. So they becomes desperate, they take more and more desperate measures, they lure Joe and us with false promises of greatness, they bribes us. They will even take cruel punishment if it means that we and Joe will still sit there and pay attention. Norma begs Joe to hit her, rather than to hate her, and will bribe him with everything - just like Hollywood will take the remarks of critics if it means that audiences will keep going back, or it will gives us the likes of Transformers 3, a Spiderman reboot or anything that can give the illusion that it still has the answers, the talent.

Because nothing scares Norma more than a lack of audience, and the same can be said for Hollywood.

Of course, Joe and New Hollywood, they want progression. They, like us, hate the lack of progression, hate the repetitiveness, hate the way they and we are left in the cold when we know that we can do better. Norma thinks she still has it - but Joe knows the truth. She has had her day and needs to bow out gracefully to allow progression. At the moment, Hollywood still thinks it has it. But we know the truth - cinema numbers have fallen, and Hollywood is relying too heavily on reboots, comebacks, sequels and prequels. There is nothing original. There is little to no progression.

In Sunset, the desperation in Norma turns to a jealous, uncontrollable rage that results in her essentially going mad and, SPOILER, shooting Joe dead to keep him hers and maintain her illusion that she is great. Hollywood, in desperation, doesn't shoot us dead, but does bombard us with explosions, special effects, promising adverts and violence that mask the fact that most films are no longer great, but just routine and are in desperate need of new, refreshed talent. Of course, even after all the trouble Norma causes, Joe tries hard to like her, to understand her, to make excuses, to protect her from the truth. He knows that she was a star, and at first even thinks there is a chance she could be again. And again, that can be said of us with Hollywood. We love Hollywood, not because of what it is, but because of what it once was and could be again in the right hands. We don't want to let a bright start fade. We want it to be great, so we put up with Michael Bay's Transformers, with a Spiderman reboot, with a poor remake of classics, because we hope that Hollywood will get its act together and make something bigger and better. Perhaps that final shot, where Norma reaches towards the camera, is Hollywood reaching for us in desperation?

I'm not sure whether Wilder wanted to make this a film about failed stardom, or a metaphor for Hollywood. But it is a true testament to he and the cast that we can take the film literally or metaphorically, and still still be touched by it.

Easily one of the best films of all time, right there with The Godfather or Chinatown. 10/10
"Who wants real? Who wants moving?"
With a medium like cinema, which had such a distinct and holistic culture all of its own, it is bound sooner or later to lose itself in nostalgia. Either that or cynical self-parody. Sunset Boulevard is not about the way motion pictures were – it is about the way motion picture people were, and continued to be.

Indeed, the style of Sunset Boulevard was the very epitome of modern film-making – voice-over narration, fluid camera-work, crisp cinematography. These contemporary trappings really serve to deepen the contrast and sharpen the disrespectful onslaught upon the olden days. Take the protagonist voice-over, something writers Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett really made an art of. It may often be functional, cutting corners in the narrative or elucidating on screen events, but more often than not it is superfluous to the story, and acts as a kind of enjoyably wry commentary on proceedings. It's a stylistic layer as much as the overstuffed set design and chiaroscuro lighting.

Director Billy Wilder is often said (by Ed Sikov for example) to be someone who "does not call attention to the shot". On the contrary, he actually constantly grabs us with the images. While he was never fond of obvious trickery, Wilder loves the weirdness of natural effects – such as Swanson's face skull-like in her sunglasses, or the close-up on her spinning parasol which begins the bathing beauties routine. He is great at filling the shot with "clues" and reminders, bringing them to our attention at the right moment – such as those holes in the doors where the locks should be, which a line in the dialogue has made us associate with suicide attempts.

But this is really a movie about stars, and central to Sunset Boulevard is the performance by Gloria Swanson. It was incredibly brave of Swanson to play such a brazen caricature of the kind of woman she could have become. But she brings all her long-standing talent and the knowledge of experience into the role. Norma Desmond is as much a creation of Swanson as she is of Wilder and Brackett. She has the kind of sleek, animalistic movement of a silent-era vamp, but tinges it with a frank depiction of middle-aged indignity. Her acting may be exaggerated and far from realistic, but remember she is playing a woman for whom life has become an act. Swanson is hammy because hamminess is real for that character. She clearly knew exactly what she was doing and what the pictures was about. Compare that to DeMille, who really had no sense of irony, and it's amazing he agreed to appear here. His performance is assuredly naturalistic (and ironically far better than most of what passes for acting in his own pictures), although that is also perfect for the part he plays here – being himself! Whether or not he had agreed to appear, DeMille would have been a central figure to this story. He was really the sole survivor of the silent era; the only individual – star, producer or director – from that time who was still a top dog. And although Sunset Boulevard sets its sights on the Hollywood of yesteryear, it was really the Hollywood of 1950 that Wilder and Brackett were gunning for. Like Norma Desmond, the post-war industry had passed its heyday and was really living off the receipts of its past glories. The studio system was crumbling, and TV was encroaching on its territory just as sound had encroached on Norma's thirty years earlier. It was now the more modest productions by younger, free-spirited filmmakers – productions like Sunset Boulevard itself – that were beginning to rise to the surface.
See Also
📹 Sunset Blvd. full movie HD download 1950 - William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Jack Webb, Franklyn Farnum, Larry J. Blake, Charles Dayton, Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper, Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson, H.B. Warner, Ray Evans - USA. 📀