Sunset Boulevard’: Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett’s Sobering Exposure of the Dark Side of Hollywood’s golden era.

So today I talk about ‘Sunset Boulevard’: Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett’s Sobering Exposure of the Dark Side of Hollywood’s golden era. i feel this subject is highly very well regarded to me. I love movies so much. It is truly marvelous as Billy Wilder is one of my favorite director-writers all time. I would love talk about this movie today.

‘Sunset Boulevard’: Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett’s Sobering Exposure of the Dark Side of Hollywood’s golden era.

You will not find in my pictures any phony camera moves or fancy setups to prove that I am a moving-picture director. My characters don’t rush around for the sake of being busy. I like to believe that movement can be achieved eloquently, elegantly, economically and logically without shooting from a hole in the ground, without hanging the camera from the chandelier and without the camera dolly dancing a polka(quote by Billy wilder) Billy Wilder and his reliable writing partner Charles Brackett, who had been called the happiest union in Hollywood, had been toying with the idea of making a film about Hollywood for a number of years. The story was originally conceived as a light-hearted comedy about a silent screen star coming out of the darkness of her obscurity to triumph over her enemies, but the storyline soon descended into a darker direction, with Wilder’s exquisite cynicism starting to dominate the theme of the project. In order to keep Paramount, their home studio, at bay, the pair chose to pretend they were actually making a piece called A Can of Beans. When Brackett and Wilder finally reached a block in their creative process, they decided to turn to reporter D. M. Marshman Jr., their frequent bridge partner and former reporter for Life, whom they brought onto the project to assist with the screenplay.

The greatness and importance of Sunset Boulevard lie not only in its technical mastery, in Brackett and Wilder’s dark but humorous script with several of the most frequently quoted lines of all time (“I am big, it’s the pictures that got small”) or even in the career-defining performances of these great actors. A good deal of the film’s value stems from its audacity: first of all, it took a lot of talent and expert maneuvering to get the film made with regard to the Production Code, especially considering the delicacy of the relationship between the two main characters of the picture. Secondly, and crucially, Sunset Boulevard was a shocking breath of fresh air when it came out thanks to the target of its arrows of cynicism. The film industry had already been a popular and successful theme of motion pictures, but never in such a dark, sobering context. Instead of making another jolly comedy or upbeat musical about the business that made him a star, Wilder chose to create a work of honesty, depth and self-reflection of the golden age Hollywood studio system. It breaks-down many of the ways the studio system was flawed form its golden idol of the star’s gaze to the systems overlooking of its writers to way Norma was once a star but once she got older with time she was passed up for the younger talents of the system as this can be even true about modern Hollywood as talents change as some older stars are forgotten about over time. In 1989, the National Film Registry included Sunset Boulevard on its list of the first twenty-five movies to be selected for national preservation, which might not mean an awful lot at the moment, but still proves the United States acknowledged the artistic, cultural and historical value of the Wilder-Brackett effort, even if a lot of feathers were inevitably ruffled and a lot of egos trampled in the process of making this intimate exposure of Hollywood’s dirtiest laundry. It was talked about Billy thought of many ways to tell such a story about Hollywood as one of the ways he thought about doing was doing a comedy movie with Mae West and Marlon Brando in which seems like an interesting take upon the whole look upon it all. Without me there wouldn’t be any Paramount Studios,” declares Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s black comedy Sunset Boulevard (1950). Former silent film star Desmond may be mad, but there is a grain of truth in what she says: Swanson was one of Paramount’s biggest stars even back when it was called Famous Players-Lasky, just as we are told Desmond was too. While Sunset Boulevard appears to attack the pretentions and excesses of the silent era, in fact its argument about the bad old days of Hollywood is more complicated than that. The horror at the heart of the film is that, as the studio system was starting to crumble, the beginnings of the industry were coming back to haunt it. Desmond’s pride mocks the fall of Hollywood just as it was teetering, rocked by the antitrust laws, the coming of TV and the communist witch-hunt as we seen this change was all coming for the studio systems.

Sunset Boulevard preliminary draft with original opening scenes and Montgomery Clift listed on cast sheet, 1948. A fascinating early script draft for Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder’s classic 1950 film noir with Gloria Swanson and William Holden. A simply typed warning from Wilder and screenwriter Charles Brackett graces the cover page: “This is the first act of Sunset Boulevard. Due to the peculiar nature of the project, we ask all our coworkers to regard it as top secret.” And top secret it remained, especially since Wilder had not finished writing the script. These preliminary pages were all he turned in to Paramount. Interestingly, the second, unnumbered, prologue page lists the film’s characters and corresponding “Actors We Hope To Get,” under which is listed Montgomery Clift as the lead, Dan Gillis (the character’s name would go from “Dan” to “Dick” to “Joe”). Clift was originally slated for the role, and was offered a $60,000 paycheck, but withdrew from the production for personal reasons purportedly having to do with the film’s plotline and his affair with the much older singer Libby Holman. The first five pages of the script are most fascinating: there is no handsome screenwriter floating face-down in a pool, rather, this original version opens with Gillis’ corpse arriving in a morgue, surrounded by other corpses. The conversation and eventual narration that followed was received by screening audiences as humorous. Wilder cut it, of course, but a few hundred lucky individuals saw Wilder’s original vision for the now infamous opening scene. An intriguing memo page is mingled in between dialogue pages, changing Gillis’ first name from “Dan” to “Dick” and his quarters from a storage space to the chauffeur’s room, as well as making Norma’s car a Hispano-Suiza, rather than a Rolls, and her writing project the Salome script, rather than her memoirs (though the idea of “Norma Desmond’s Memoirs, a Norma Desmond Production, starring Norma Desmond” is gruesomely fascinating as it showcases some bold change to the movie yet showcases how the movie was always so good even early drafts. riter/director Billy Wilder is making commentary on the sad state of screenwriting in Hollywood during the Golden Age. Gillis is at the mercy of everyone: the actors, the studios, the script readers. As he quips, “the last [film] I wrote was about Okies in the Dust Bowl. You’d never know, because when it reached the screen the whole thing played on a torpedo boat.” Gillis (and by extension, Wilder) is jaded with the lack of control and power that writers have in the business and the soul-sucking balancing act between creative freedom and industrious regimen that the studio system had often killed. It was how Hollywood worked in that golden era.

What’s most fascinating about Sunset Boulevard is just how on-the-nose its commentary is on the industry. Life imitates art in many aspects of the film. Actress Gloria Swanson, who portrays Norma, was also a silent film star in her heyday, and she won the role after several similar actresses turned it down in disgust. When her character says, “Without me there wouldn’t be any Paramount Studios”, it’s almost a fourth-wall break: Swanson herself was instrumental in the rise of Paramount as a major power. Cecil B. DeMille is a crucial character in the story, Norma’s biggest directing collaborator, and he is played by, well, Cecil B. DeMille himself! It’s like another subtle wink at the audience, hinting at the universality of its message by seeping into the very cast and crew of the film. For a film so anti-Hollywood to get the full Hollywood treatment is an accomplishment in itself, and some still speculate that Paramount would not have green-lit the project if they fully understood Billy Wilder’s intentions. He allegedly had the script only halfway written when production began, which wasn’t entirely uncommon back then, but it was a quirk of the system that allowed Wilder to brazenly throw shade at the system as he was taking advantage of it to get his picture made. An ironic case of the screenwriter imposing his will on the industry rather than the other way around. It was work of honestly as it was reflection of the golden age of Hollywood. It simply has so many layers upon this movie. I hope you enjoyed today’s talk about this movie as I will return something else in future as norma says at the end. this is my life all those cameras and action as all those wonderful people in the dark. what is the scene as where am i. its a reflection of the star and the system as this movie is a self-reflection of Hollywood.


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