25 Favorite Films: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

I feel like movies aren’t daring as they once were. Chalk it up to either being in the year 2015 or the upgrades film has gone through in over one hundred and fifteen years. Either way, today’s age of filmmaking is not really where I think it should be. Films like Birdman is a step in the right direction because it pushed the boundaries on how to make a film but also the subject matter is more of what I want to see. Not an overtly negative view of stardom but in general a nice critique on today’s Hollywood system is what we need to see more of. Which is why the 1950s classic Sunset Boulevard is still a fresh of breath air whenever I see it.

Let’s be honest, there is not much I could say about this film that hasn’t been already said. Gloria Swanson’s performance as Norma Desmond is one of the bravest and most dead on depictions of a washed up movie star. Maybe the times have changed but the idea is the same: You come out of the limelight and you are screwed. Maybe someone from the ‘D-list’ of celebrities isn’t dressing up as Charlie Chaplin on their off days. But you know anyone is willing to do ANYTHING to stay relevant in today’s social media world. I’m not calling for a remake of this film but it would be interesting to see how this can translate today.

For a 1950 film it is also very daring in its negative portrayal of Hollywood. Everyone is cold to one another and Billy Wilder is basically saying everyone is crazy. What he’s saying is not wrong but I have to imagine every professional actor and filmmaker cringed while watching this. Honestly not much has changed in over sixty years since its release which probably says a lot. The technology might change and so will the process but one thing is a constant: People are assholes.


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