Los Angeles and Hollywood. La-la land itself. A city of hopes and dreams, crushed ambitions and empty promises. Despite being firmly Noo York guys in the battle of the big American cities, even Lewis and I can’t help but be seduced by its shallow glamour. If we weren’t so dedicated to this podcast we would’ve long ago jumped on a greyhound bus and headed to LA to become stars (I’m guessing you can get a bus to LA from Victoria Coach Station?).
Of course modern Hollywood has nothing on the Holly wood of old: that’s when you had REAL scandals. This week we take a trip back to that sleazy LA with Sunset Boulevard.
A recommendation of Lewis and listener Conor Barrett, Sunset Boulevard follows down-on-his-luck writer Joe Gillis, played by William Holden, as he writes a screenplay for forgotten silent-film star Norma Desmond, played by Gloria Swanson. Slowly Joe is drawn into Norma’s life, unable to escape her self-delusion and bitterness.
The director Billy Wilder manages to create a Hollywood film that successfully confronts the dark side of Tinsel Town, showing what fame can do to you and, even worse, what happens when that fame fades. Swanson, a star of silent films herself back in the 10s and 20s, gives the performance of a lifetime as Norma. In many ways it’s an over the top performance, but it’s always believable.
If our review has piqued your interest in the film, you can buy the Sunset Boulevard DVD from Amazon by clicking here (and we get a little bit of cash if you do – thanks in advance)
Anyway, without further ado, let us present our feature presentation:
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Director: Billy Wilder Year of release: 1950 Studio/Distributor: Paramount Pictures Country: USA