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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
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 17 days ago by George
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 1 month ago by William Griffiths
Very good! I can see why it is considered one of the best movies.Published 3 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 4 months ago by Orlando