2nd. article in our series on Film Noir.
In 1950, director and screenwriter, Billy Wilder, brought an iconic film noir classic to the big screen. The film: Sunset Blvd. The synopsis is of a faded Hollywood silent film starlet, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) who is trying to make a comeback. A hack of a screenwriter is hired to write the screenplay that will bring Norma back to her fans. Unfortunately her great belief in her own ego is her downfall and has cast her as a recluse. Romance and death ensue. Sunset Blvd won 3 Oscars: Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, and Best Music.
While in production, the film was called “A Can of Beans”. This was because the writers feared Hollywood would not be in favor of how the industry was being portrayed. Three of the “100 Greatest Lines” was from SB:
“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”
“We didn’t need dialogue, we had faces.”
“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”
In 1994, Andrew Lloyd Weber composed the music for the musical of the same film name. Glenn Close starred as Norma Desmond (I did see this production and it blew me out of my seat). It went on to win 7 Tony Awards in 1995, including Best Musical, Best Actress, and Best Original Score.
Lastly, a true compliment and homage to Sunset Blvd was Carol Burnett’s parody on her television show.