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Sunset Boulevard Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

[[Performer~P116768~Billy Wilder~billywilder]]'s Sunset Boulevard ranks among the most scathing satires of Hollywood and the cruel fickleness of movie fandom. The story begins at the end as the body of Joe Gillis ([[Performer~P32805~William Holden~williamholden]]) is fished out of a Hollywood swimming pool. From The Great Beyond, Joe details the circumstances of his untimely demise (originally, the film contained a lengthy prologue wherein the late Mr. Gillis told his tale to his fellow corpses in the city morgue, but this elicited such laughter during the preview that Wilder changed it). Hotly pursued by repo men, impoverished, indebted "boy wonder" screenwriter Gillis ducks into the garage of an apparently abandoned Sunset Boulevard mansion. Wandering into the spooky place, Joe encounters its owner, imperious silent star Norma Desmond ([[Performer~P69293~Gloria Swanson~gloriaswanson]]). Upon learning Joe's profession, Norma inveigles him into helping her with a comeback script that she's been working on for years. Joe realizes that the script is hopeless, but the money is good and he has nowhere else to go. Soon the cynical and opportunistic Joe becomes Norma's kept man. While they continue collaborating, Norma's loyal and protective chauffeur Max Von Mayerling (played by legendary filmmaker [[Performer~P118401~Erich von Stroheim~erichvonstroheim]]) contemptuously watches from a distance. More melodramatic than funny, the screenplay by Wilder and [[Performer~P82717~Charles Brackett~charlesbrackett]] began life as a comedy about a has-been silent movie actress and the ambitious screenwriter who leeches off her. (Wilder originally offered the film to [[Performer~P116467~Mae West~maewest]], [[Performer~P56706~Mary Pickford~marypickford]] and [[Performer~P52091~Pola Negri~polanegri]]. [[Performer~P13682~Montgomery Clift~montgomeryclift]] was the first choice for the part of opportunistic screenwriter Joe Gillis, but he refused, citing as "disgusting" the notion of a 25-year-old man being kept by a 50-year-old woman.) [[Performer~P116170~Andrew Lloyd Webber~andrewlloydwebber]]'s long-running musical version has served as a tour-de-force for contemporary actresses ranging from [[Performer~P13725~Glenn Close~glennclose]] to [[Performer~P9345~Betty Buckley~bettybuckley]] to [[Performer~P11302~Diahann Carroll~diahanncarroll]]. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:August 10, 1950

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ray Moyer Best Black and White Art Direction 1950 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sam Comer Best Black and White Art Direction 1950 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Billy Wilder Best Director 1950 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Billy Wilder Best Story and Screenplay 1950 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Billy Wilder Best Screenplay 1950 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Billy Wilder Best Director 1950 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Billy Wilder Best Director 1950 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Charles Brackett Best Story and Screenplay 1950 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charles Brackett Best Screenplay 1950 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Franz Waxman Best Original Score 1950 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Franz Waxman Best Drama or Comedy Score 1950 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nancy Olson Best Supporting Actress 1950 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Hans Dreier Best Black and White Art Direction 1950 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Gloria Swanson Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama 1950 Winner
National Board of Review Gloria Swanson Best Actress 1950 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Gloria Swanson Best Actress 1950 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences William Holden Best Actor 1950 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association John F. Seitz Best Cinematography - Black and White 1950 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John F. Seitz Best Black and White Cinematography 1950 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Doane Harrison Best Editing 1950 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Erich Von Stroheim Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1950 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Erich Von Stroheim Best Supporting Actor 1950 Nominee

Cast

William Holden
as Joe Gillis
Gloria Swanson
as Norma Desmond
Erich Von Stroheim
as Max Von Mayerling
Nancy Olson
as Betty Schaefer
Fred Clark
as Sheldrake
Lloyd Gough
as Morino
Franklin Farnum
as The Undertaker
Cecil B. DeMille
as Himself
Eva Novak
as Courtier
Jack Webb
as Artie Green
Ken Christy
as Captain of Homicide
Sidney Skolsky
as Himself
Howard Negley
as Captain of Police
Billy Sheehan
as 2nd Assistant Director
Frank O'Connor
as Courtier
Gertrude Astor
as Courtier
John Miller
as Hog Eye
Yvette Vickers
Kenneth Gibson
as Salesman
Ralph Montgomery
as First Prop Man
Archie Twitchell
Robert E. O'Connor
as Jonesy
Creighton Hale
Al Ferguson
as Phone Standby
Eddie Dew
as Assistant Coroner
Ottola Nesmith
as Woman
Julia Faye
as Hisham
Tommy Ivo
as Boy
Howard Joslin
as Police Lieutenant
Ruth Clifford
as Sheldrake's Secretary
Joel Allen
as Second Prop Man
Len Hendry
as Police Sergeant
Bert Moorhouse
as Gordon Cole
E. Mason Hopper
as Doctor/Courtier

Crew

Billy Wilder
Director
Charles Brackett
Producer
Charles Brackett
Screenwriter
Billy Wilder
Screenwriter
John F. Seitz
Cinematographer
Franz Waxman
Composer (Music Score)
Jay Livingston
Songwriter
Doane Harrison
Editor
Hans Dreier
Art Director
Ray Moyer
Set Designer
Sam Comer
Set Designer
Edith Head
Costume Designer
Harry Lindgren
Sound/Sound Designer
John Cope
Sound/Sound Designer
Farciot Edouart
Special Effects
Gordon Jennings
Special Effects
Wally Westmore
Makeup
Carl Silvera
Makeup
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