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Some Like It WilderThe Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder$
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Gene D. Phillips

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813125701

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813125701.001.0001

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Sunset Boulevard

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Some Like It Wilder


University Press of Kentucky

This chapter gives an analysis on Sunset Boulevard. It begins by describing the story conferences. The film's title refers to the passing of the old Hollywood: It recalls the tragic lives of has-been film stars like Norma Desmond, whose careers in silent pictures were eclipsed by the advent of sound. The decaying swimming pool on Norma's estate, in which John Gilbert swam ten thousand midnights ago, is a relic of the grandeur of Norma's long-lost heyday as a superstar in Hollywood. The stunning finale of Sunset Boulevard makes for one of the greatest moments in all cinema. It is blessed with a superb screenplay and inspired direction, topped off by Gloria Swanson's superlative performance as Norma and Erich von Stroheim's indelible portrayal of Max. Moreover, the movie is sterling for Billy Wilder's consummate craftsmanship in producing well-defined, plausible characters.

Keywords:   Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, Hollywood, John Gilbert, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim

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