Though perhaps not as quirky and endearing as The Apartment I continue to really enjoy Wilder's Hollywood films. Full of the initial sheen and overly dramatic bent of classic cinema but then we realize that we are watching a fading star, and with our star we see the desperation and darkness behind the flash and glow. That ending though. As iconic as any you'll find.
The Greatest Film Ever Made. A bold statement sure, but never has film been this daring before, a film made by the system; only to be against the system. The first wave of punk rock by rockstar director Billy Wilder? This film starts with death and climaxes with something far beyond. The dialogue has a pathos which is borderline philosophical, the cinematography is sharp & crisp unlike the narratives morals.
(...) Sunset Boulevard ist einer dieser Filme, in denen eine Frau ihren Mann gefangen hält. Joe ist ihr Gefangener und vielleicht geniesst er das auch? Natürlich umgeben ihm keine Mauern. Normas Gefangenschaft funktioniert dadurch, dass sie die Zeit still stehen lässt. (Dazu gibts unsere Film List "Hollywood über sich" auf cinegeek.de
Gloria Swanson's portrayal of the silent star, Norma Desmond, on the verge of her sanity, attempting to make a comeback to the motion pictures is terrifyingly compelling, memorable and beautiful. As far as movies about the movies are concerned, "Sunset Boulevard" is (probably) as good as they get.
The more Billy Wilder films I see, the more I begin to believe he might just be the greatest director ever. His films are a rich social tapestry of America, and Sunset Blvd is a crowning instance. Swanson is brilliantly manic as the ageing star unable to let go of the past. Holden himself is hardly free of guilt as his own desires for fame overtake his morals. It could well be the best film about film ever.
Since I'm not a cinema expert, I really have no idea how innovative or big for its time the film was. No doubt, a fine sample of industry reflecting on its own dark sides. Plus, the special choice of the cast adds up to the value of Sunset Blvd which is probably one of the finest captures of a dissolving era.
In this narcissistic post-modern age, this cautionary tale of Norma Desmond's media self-aggrandisement continues to resonate. From 'The Bling Ring', 'The King of Comedy', 'The Artist', to 'To Die For', the influence echoes loud in contemporary cinema. "Alright Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" is the parabolic idiom for a society that craves recognition. Cinema history without Wilder would be quite damaging.