Sunset Blvd Is A Fabulous Film Classic

Sunset Blvd is a classic American film noir filmed in 1950 and a lesson in what refusing to grow old gracefully can result in.

The movie was directed by Billy Wilder also responsible for classic films like Some Like it Hot and it received three oscars. It takes its title name from the boulevard running through Beverley Hills in Los Angeles. An area synonymous with the rich and famous.

The movie stars William Holden as screenplay and down on his luck bum and Gloria Swanson is the faded, glamorous Norma Desmond who used to be a big star in the silent movie industry.

Holden's character, Joe Gillis is a young writer and when we first meet him he is virtually bankrupt. His car is getting towed away and everyone is hankering after him for debts they want to collect. His encounter with Desmond gives him financial options as she ask him to write a screenplay that will return her to the screen.

Desmond is deluded. She is much older now and the silent movie industry is long gone. Gillis exploits this to his advantage though and moves in to her mansion and her heart. She is in love with him and when she feels him slipping away then she tries to take her life.

Norma Desmond is much older than Joe and she has matured a lot since her screen debut and Hollywood is not kind to old stars. The film company has little interest in starting Desmond's career through the offered screenplay and this does little to propel Joe into the spotlight either.

In secret Joe works on a script with a younger writer Betty and the two of them fall in love. He is determined to leave Norma, but she fires a shot and he falls dead into the swimming pool at her lavish mansion.

The famous line arrives at the end with Desmond weaving down the steps and saying; "I'm ready for my close up" sealing her fate and showing how mentally unstable she has become.

This is a tragic movie and reveals the inner darkness and corruption in the film industry. People become dispensable commodities and the film is testament to an actress with a mental illness who cannot accept that her youth and beauty are behind her.

The character of Norma is treated with pity and pathos and although she does ultimately murder Joe, she is shown to be a product of the industry that she inhabits. An industry that eats her up and spits her out.

The servants she has treat her gently and pander to her need to look youthful. In this day and age of botox and plastic surgery the film is an uncomfortable reminder that there are some things that can't be bought.

The film Sunset Blvd provides an insightful look at the film industry and shows how wealth, fortune and fame can corrupt and destroy. Desmond's mental illness culminating at the end with Gillis' death shows how power has corrupted and then destroyed each character in different ways.

Joe, her lover's untimely death, is sad and wasteful, but he represents the exploitative force behind Desmond's demise.

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