Sunset Blvd.

on August 10, 1950 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Classic Reviews Seldom, if ever, before has a movie undertaking to reveal a facet of behind-the-scenes Hollywood attained the entertainment quotient, the emotional wallop and the financial potentialities of this offering from the celebrated team of Producer Charles Brackett and Director Billy Wilder, who -- with one collaborator -- were responsible also for the screenplay. A masterfully adroit projection of a bizarre, fictional-but-possible film colony situation, the picture will keep spectators spellbound, while their reactions shuttle with lightning speed of the story's constantly changing aura of pathos, satire and humor. Performances generally are excellent, most especially that of Gloria Swanson, whose flawless delineation will be a conversation topic both within and without the industry, with many a prediction that it is a sure-fire Oscar candidate. But the most sterling credit goes to writing and direction. They make the feature truly terrific -- and a trifle terrifying.

William Holden, Hollywood screen writer down on his luck, encounters Gloria Swanson, demented, onetime silent screen queen, now living in luxurious, egocentric seclusion and dreaming of a comeback, which she hopes will be accomplished through a screenplay she has written. She retains Holden to work on the script, falls in love with him and virtually enslaves him through her lavish expenditures and her all-demanding egomania. Meanwhile, fighting for a life of his own, Holden secretly is working on a film story with Nancy Olson, young and personable studio story analyst. When the relationship ripens into love, Holden tries to walk out on Gloria, by now violently insane, who kills him. The yarn unfolds in a flash-back technique, starting with the murder.

This is it... The most compellingly dramatic story ever unfolded on the screen... A tale of heartache and tragedy... Love and ambition... Told against the fabulous backdrop of Hollywood. Paramount 115 min.

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