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Sunset Boulevard ()

directed by
featuring William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark

Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard ranks among the most scathing satires of Hollywood and the cruel fickleness of movie fandom. The story begins at the ... Show synopsis

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  • 1. VHS, Paramount, 1998

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Reviews of Sunset Boulevard

Overall customer rating: 4.000
Sivvie

A Macabre Story Of Love And Death

by Sivvie on Jan 29, 2011

Dare I make a tilt at a famed classic, albeit a small one? For a film that has so very much going for it, it leans towards the tedious. The cast is exemplary: Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, aging star of the silent films, takes over the screen, while Erich Von Stroheim as her ex husband/chauffeur/factotum gives a perfect performance of a strange man still in love with the star. William Holden and Nancy Olson are just right as two young writers whose growing closeness becomes the catalyst for Holden's murder as Norma's dependency on him increases. (No, this is not a spoiler: In the first few frames we see Holden as Joe Gillis lying face down in the swimming pool.) The Desmond mansion set is magnificently reminiscent of old Hollywood, its Gothic proportions and decadent furnishings demonstrating that funereal atmosphere that the stars of yesteryear used to favour - an over-abundance of pleated hangings, of low lighting and large spaces filled with clutter. The plot is good but a little too slow, Wilder's excellence as a director missing out due to becoming too close and fussing a little too much, hence the tedium, together a sense of claustrophobia as though spending too much time in a funeral home. Would the claustrophobia have mattered had the tedium not been evident? Maybe not, although William Holden as the breath of fresh air is doomed anyway. But for all that, it's a film worth seeing for its craft and content.

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