DUST OFF THE REEL: Sunset Boulevard (1950)


Sunset Boulevard is probably oneimages of the most parodied movies of all times, but does anyone really know what it’s from? At a time I’m sure they did but now it is a lesser understood reference. I’m sure you have all hear the phrase “I’m ready for my close up” that originates from Sunset Boulevard.

For the film to be so highly mocked, it must be iconic. What makes it so memorable is probably the plot line in general, as well as the grand performance of Gloria Swanson as aging hollywood starlet Norma Desmond. Trust me when I say Norma is insane. The acting overall is very dramatic but especially on Swanson’s part. There is one specific scene where she descends the staircase with a bewildered look in her eye and acts as if she is twenty-something again playing the Queen of the Nile. It gives me chills everytime.

Desmond is obsessed with getting her script picked up by a production company and playing the starring role in it. She is fronted with two problems: one, her script is horrendous and two, no one wants to see her on screen anymore. She goes to great lengths to preserve her career as she practically kidnaps young struggling writer Joe Gillis, played by William Holden. The film is seen through the eyes of Joe Gillis and could somewhat be considered a film noir as he gives an prologue and epilogue at the beginning and end of the film.