What an absolute stinker!
It took us two days to wade through the dense narration that is Sunset Blvd. and I’m still coming to terms with how it could possibly arrive at number 32 on the imdb top 250 list and therefore my own top 100.
The 1950 black and white film provided yet another lacklustre performance by a male lead (much like ‘North by Northwest‘) and again was rescued only by the stellar performance of the female lead, in this case Gloria Swanson, who (somewhat autobiographically) plays the washed up silent movie actress, Norma Desmond.
Norman Desmond is a crackpot from go to whoa…. (Like, seriously, Whoa! Back off!)
Joe Gillis: You’re Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.
Norma Desmond: I *am* big. It’s the *pictures* that got small.
Joe Gillis’ narration left me feeling like I was passing through the Twilight Zone over and over again. Not in a Bella Swan way, mind you, but in the old-school, black and white, “scary door” kinda way, to which I have (being my father’s daughter) become quite accustomed. Naturally, I have no quarrel with entering the Twilight Zone… I suppose I have just come to expect that, upon entering said Zone, I will be enraptured until the very end, pausing only to ponder, “What the…” (as opposed to, “I think it’s bed time”).
At one point, Joe soliloquises, “Audiences don’t know somebody sits down and writes a picture; they think the actors make it up as they go along”. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth in this film. I was constantly reminded of some jilted man (or several) behind the scenes etching “crazy” into the bones of Norma Desmond. It’s fatal attraction minus the ‘Whitey’ the bunny (AKA ‘Stu’).
The love story subplot completely missed the mark, causing me to wonder whether women should be so keen on the idea of chivalry, if its death coincides with men gaining an appreciation of true romance beyond “Shut up and kiss me!”
In any event, I didn’t enjoy the film and, if I’m going to be honest….
(I’m ready for my close-up….)
Have you seen ‘Sunset Blvd.’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.