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Sunset Blvd

May 31, 2006

I didn’t enjoy this movie nearly as much as Some Like it Hot. I did like the bit of history lesson on old Hollywood, and the character acting of Norma Desmond, but as far as film noir goes it seemed less like a dark mystery and more like a Twilight Zone episode. From the beginning of the movie I never asked myself why the main character why shot, but why on Earth he died so close to the pool fully clothed. That was my big mystery, and I’m afraid it was very poorly answered. Instead of walking towards the car when he leaves at the end, he walks towards the pool, gets shot, continues walking to the pool, and with his last ounce of energy, falls in the pools direction. It seemed very contrived and silly. It could have been more like a mystery and less like a silly farce if he just would have died in the garage.

The narration was unessesary at times. I like narration when it adds something, not when it’s just describing what’s going on onscreen. “She put her arm around mine” -yeah I just saw that, and it’s not so important you have to bang it into my head.

They say that no characters, items or ideas are introduced into a movie and so when Betty the reader came back into the story I wasn’t really suprised. She was a good grounding into the “real world”. But to have her become the love interest of William again seemed very contrived and silly. Just because she’s the only other female besides Norma in the story doesn’t mean she’s got to fall in love with the main character. I don’t see how it added anything to the story anyway, since Norma was jealous of other women with or without Betty.

Gloria Swanson, who played Norma Desmond, was glorious as an aging star. She was the perfect combination of diva and crazy. Her facial expressions were perfect for the part. I remember how in the film she said that in silent film they didn’t need to talk, they used their faces, and she does exactly that in the film. Though she does have a few memorable lines (it’s the pictures that got small, I’m ready for my closeup Mr. De Ville) it’s her wide white eyes that stick with you. As she looks directly into the camera at the end, that’s an image that could be framed on a wall and put in a museum. I wonder how much was autobiographical for poor Gloria Swanson, who by her IMDB resume seems to have burnt out as movies turned to talkies.

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