I absolutely adore this film. I think the first time I saw it was while sitting on the cold charcoal dust covered floor of the Fine Arts building at Interlochen Center For the Arts. It was in the 35mm movie projector version and I have sensory flashbacks of that time when I see it again. Billy Wilder is brilliant, Gloria Swanson is perfection, William Holden is mesmerizing and Erich von Stroheim is captivating. Most likely, when you watch this film next, it will be on DVD, please do yourself a favor and watch the special features options, you will fall in love with the film even more. Oh, and the scene where her friends come over to play bridge, she calls them “the waxworks,” and it’s played by Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson and H. B. Warner.
Sunset Boulevard (also known as Sunset Blvd.) is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the boulevard that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California.
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 butler and first husband. 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.
Praised by many critics when first released, Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards 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. In 1998, it was ranked number twelve on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 best American films of the 20th century, and in 2007 it was 16th on their 10th Anniversary list.