Bronze Label

Sunset Blvd. (1950)

8.5/10

“Sunset Blvd” follows the life of a screenwriter that starts a relationship with a faded movie star. It covers the ‘old-old’ Hollywood of the silent films, and the old Hollywood of the 1950’s. Remarkably nothing much seems to have changed because the screenwriting process, and details anno 2021 are pretty much the same.

Firstly, “Sunset Blvd” is amazing to watch because we as the audience witness the ‘silent’ movie Hollywood approach clash with the audio, and dialogue Hollywood. Meaning that the silent movie actors were indeed different as they had to use facial expressions instead of dialogue. It shows beautifully how the era of audio, and dialogue impacted the previous generation. It is almost an historical portrayal of what must have gone on behind the scenes, and how the screenwriter’s job developed as dialogue became very important. 

Secondly, the meta approach of the writer telling his own story is very appropriate because this way we as the audience get a real insight into how he ended up as seen in the opening scene. Moreover, one could explain the opening sequence as a story within a story because the screenwriter is still talking, or rather narrating, during the situation that is presented to the audience. This self-reflection (swimming pool scene) can also be described as a metaphorical situation for any screenwriter in Hollywood. The metaphor behind it would be drowning in a situation because you took too much on your plate and now you have to deal with the consequence. It’s a constant balancing act that a screenwriter has to perform inorder to survive in Hollywood. 

I can hear you thinking that all of this sounds rather meta and interesting to screenwriters. However, is this also a movie for the broader public? Yes, I really think it is a good movie for everyone. “Sunset Blvd” has interesting characters, good actors, and most importantly a great story that at times gives you a “Adams family” like vibe. It really does feel like a thriller because at no point could I predict what was about to happen, and it was exciting to watch. Additionally, there is enough action to keep you entertained, and I constantly found myself wondering what will be next. Moreover, in 2021 it still feels original and very relevant. Fading celebrities is not an uncommon thing, and some just don’t know when their time is up, and therefore keep on going. This film also has something very sad as one person’s demise can destroy the career, or life’s, of others. I don’t think that the essence of Hollywood really changed since the 1930’s. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but the people inside this world really create their own reality. Of course things have changed since the 1930’s but the essence is still the same. But enough about how I perceived it within a screenwriter context. 

I would like to emphasize that even if you don’t like older films this one might be something to start with as the plot structure is very interesting and original. As far as I know there is no modern version of this film, and I really doubt that there would be one that is as great as “Sunset Blvd”. Additionally, this is one of the few times that I actually forgot that I was watching a film from 1950 because it felt very modern.

I can only come to the conclusion that “Sunset Blvd” is a great film that you must have seen if you really enjoy watching movies. Moreover, it is much more than a good film. It is a legitimate Hollywood experience with a great realistic story. Ideally you would watch this in the cinema again, but I am afraid that this won’t happen again soon unless you find a private screening of “Sunset Blvd”.

 

Directed by Billy Wilder. Writing: Credits Charles Brackett (written by) & Billy Wilder (written by) & D.M. Marshman Jr. (written by)

Cast:
William HoldenJoe Gillis
Gloria SwansonNorma Desmond
Erich von StroheimMax Von Mayerling
Nancy OlsonBetty Schaefer
Fred ClarkSheldrake
Lloyd GoughMorino
Jack WebbArtie Green

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s