Sunset Boulevard (Bilingual)
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Billy Wilder's noir-comic classic about death and decay in Hollywood remains as pungent as ever in its power to provoke shock, laughter, and gasps of astonishment. Joe Gillis (William Holden), a broke and cynical young screenwriter, is attempting to ditch a pair of repo men late one afternoon when he pulls off L.A.'s storied Sunset Boulevard and into the driveway of a seedy mansion belonging to Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a forgotten silent movie luminary whose brilliant acting career withered with the coming of talkies. The demented old movie queen lives in the past, assisted by her devoted (but intimidating) butler, Max (played by Erich von Stroheim, the legendary director of Greed and Swanson's own lost epic, Queen Kelly). Norma dreams of making a comeback in a remake of Salome to be directed by her old colleague Cecil B. DeMille (as himself), and Joe becomes her literary and romantic gigolo. Sunset Blvd. is one of those great movies that has become a part of popular culture (the line "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," has entered the language)--but it's no relic. Wow, does it ever hold up. --Jim Emerson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The highlights of the Sunset Boulevard DVD are a standout transfer and three 2002 documentaries. In "Sunset Boulevard: A Look Back" (26 min.), author Ed Sikov, actress Nancy Olson (who played Betty Schaefer), critic Andrew Sarris, and producer A.C. Lyles discuss the perfect cast, the alternate opening, and various anecdotes. "Edith Head: The Paramount Years" (13 min.) and "Franz Waxman and the Music of Sunset Boulevard" (14.5 min.) provide retrospectives on the legendary costume designer and composer. Sikov, the author of On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder, also provides a very informative if rather dry commentary track. Other features include a map spotlighting the Hollywood locations in the film, photo galleries, and two versions of the script for the original morgue opening, one of which is supplemented with silent footage cut from the picture. --David Horiuchi
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Top Customer Reviews
Movie script writer Joe Gillis found him self in the sunset of his career. While escaping auto preprocessors, by accident or fait he turns into a driveway on Sunset Boulevard and begins a new chapter with a mysterious actress who is in the sunset of her career.
This play in three acts is packed with stars of the time. Many of the Stars and the writer reflect their real lives in the story. I am not going to bring up a list because they are fun to discover as they show up on the screen.
Even though the movie can hold its own and is worth re-watching, be sure to get a DVD with the audio commentary. The commentary helps you see what you are watching; it also covers the original beginning of the movie.
I have been tainted before viewing this movie by watching then Carol Burnet version.
All About Eve (Two-Disc Special Edition)
By the way, Cecil B. DeMille's cameo was a nice plus, however I think I missed the great Buster Keaton's appearance (perhaps when I ran to the bathroom...) William Holden is strong and steady in the lead and Nancy Olson was absolutely delightful as his love interest on the side. Its a shame she never did anything else of substance.
The documentary on the disc does a good job of demonstrating just how unique the tone of this story is, how it perfectly navigates between funny and sad. Not everyone in Hollywood saw the funny side when it was released, and it lost to ALL ABOUT EVE at that year's Oscars. So what? With this disc, SUNSET BOULEVARD is finally getting it's due.
Besides the documentary, you can read two screenplay drafts of an excised opening sequence, explore 1950's Hollywood with an interactive map and watch the film with audio commentary by a critic and historian. All these features are secondary, of course, to the movie. It looks gorgeous. The black and white picture is rich and crisp, the sound is re-mastered and the story is as compelling as ever. The special features only do what all good special features should do on a DVD. They add to the richness of the film. You may already know that Eric von Stroheim (who plays a character who directed Gloria Swanson's character in silent films) directed Gloria Swanson in silent films. But did you know that the drugstore where all the screenwriter's hang out in the movie is the drug store where F. Scott Fitzgerald had a heart attack in 1940? One of the reasons I love this movie is because it is so rich with Hollywood history.
I can't recommend this disc highly enough. Kudos to Columbia for doing right by a classic, a real film lover's film. I love this movie and I love this disc! 5/5 stars.
Most recent customer reviews
The disc arrived as advertised. The restored picture and sound are excellent and the story as we know is a classic and begs repeated watching.There are over 2. Read morePublished 6 months ago by George
Full of suspense, a psychological thriller. Awesome movie.Published 7 months ago by Maureen Bellamy
An excellent movie. Acting was superb. The accompanying extra disk was excellently informative. Miss Swanson deserved to receive the Academy Award for her histrionic performance. Read morePublished 7 months ago by William Griffiths
Very good! I can see why it is considered one of the best movies.Published 9 months ago by jamie fuller
The visual and sound transfer to DVD is excellent and the special features very good, especially interview with Nancy Olson. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Orlando
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