An out of work writer in Hollywood (Holden) randomly pulls into the driveway of a silent film star (Swanson) who can use the assistance of his writing talent. Among the many past associations embedded in Sunset Blvd. When he drives Norma to Paramount Pictures at the studio gates, the car was pulled with a rope by off-camera grips. The studio needed an actor who the audience could believe wrote a story about Okies in the Dust Bowl that played on a torpedo boat by the time it hit the screen. Sunset Boulevard (styled in the main title on-screen as SUNSET BLVD.) This wasn't the original opening and was filmed long after completion of filming. This can be deduced from the fact that when he pulls one out of the pack he turns the bottom end up to his mouth. His Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki (founded 1959) was popular with the international jet set. Billy Wilder's sixth film in a row for Paramount Pictures. Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York CitysVampyr Theatreand the rock operaAssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Set non-holiday all-time house record of $166,000 at New York's Radio City Music Hall when it opened. On the Columbia lot is an assistant director and scout named Harold Winston. Sunset Boulevard, the 1950 film noir classic directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, did a lot to change that and other myths of old Hollywoodlike the real-life murder at the heart of the story. Normand was the last person known to have seen Taylor alive and she was grilled by the Los Angeles Police Department as a result. Joe Gillis: You're Norma Desmond. (A few months later, Hepburn met Mel Ferrer, whom she later married and with whom she had a son Sean Hepburn Ferrer. Queen Kelly nearly ruined both of their careers: von Stroheim was replaced as director midway through after complaints from Swanson about the racy material and arguments with the producer (JFK's father!) When Peavey heard the moans I am the ghost of William Desmond Taylor. So Wilder gave up, and DeMille (who was already being compensated) gave Norma his own chair.. Every character is jaded, except the oldest players. But as commentator Steve Sailer points out, more than one contemporary source mentions it as an inspiration. When filming began, William Holden was 31 and Gloria Swanson was 50, the same stated age as her character. Holden was born William Franklin Beedle, Jr., on April 17, 1918, in O'Fallon, Illinois, son of Mary Blanche Beedle (ne Ball), a schoolteacher, and her husband William Franklin Beedle, an industrial chemist. She was disappointed to see that all the parts she was offered subsequently were watered-down versions of Norma Desmond. Watch Sunset Boulevard: Centennial Collection, When Norma Desmond says to the guard at the "Paramount Studio" gates, "Without me there wouldn't be any 'Paramount Studio'" the words could apply to, When Max is telling Joe about directing Madam's first pictures, there is a bad dub of the word "sixteen". He earned an Oscar nomination for "Sunset Boulevard" and won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1954 for his role in "Stalag 17," per IMDb. Cecil B. DeMille appears in the film on a studio set. The script (which was to be a vehicle for her comeback) was submitted to Cecil B. DeMille who sent it back. At Paramount, he did another Western, Streets of Laredo (1949). read more: The Big Sleep is Proof That Plot Doesnt Matter. She can be seen talking and giggling on the phone during the party. He walked into his bedroom and tripped over a throw rug and slammed his head so hard into the corner of a teak nightstand, the piece of furniture flew into the wall causing an indentation, per "William Holden." Boulevard du crpuscule : Pelculas y Series de TV. Bogart took the part hoping it would pair him back up with his wife Lauren Bacall. The Tragic 1981 Death Of Sunset Boulevard Star William Holden. Kodak would discontinue to manufacture it altogether in 1953. Free shipping for many products! Other actresses considered for Norma Desmond were Mae West (who wanted to rewrite the dialogue), Mae Murray, and Mary Pickford. [43] Capucine and Holden remained friends until his death in 1981. There was a maharajah who came all the way from India to beg one of her silk stockings. But along with the accolades came a dependence on alcohol that would play a major role in his tragic end. )[19], He took third billing for The Country Girl (1954) with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly, directed by George Seaton from a play by Clifford Odets. Still, whatever hard feelings there may have been between Swanson and von Stroheim, they were gone by the time Sunset Boulevard came along. Fat Man: "A husky fellow like you?" Neither was The Revengers (1972), another Western. But she wanted to rewrite her dialogue (as was her custom)a nonstarter for Wilder, who seldom let his actors change their lines even slightly from what was on the page. Hollywood was known for its excesses long before Michael Jackson hit town. In 1973, Holden starred with Kay Lenz in a movie directed by Clint Eastwood called Breezy, which was considered a box-office flop. William Holden (born William Franklin Beedle Jr.; April 17, 1918 - November 12, 1981) was an American actor and murderer, and one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1950s. It made him a true front ranked star after years of being an actor slogging through a series of largely forgottable films (and performances). Part of the dialogue goes: Fat Man: "Where did you drown? When Gloria Swanson finished Norma's final scene, the mad staircase descent, she burst into tears and the crew applauded. 3.48. His co-star Barbara Stanwyck, a screen. In 1954, Holden was featured on the cover of Life. He always wished that I would get an Oscar. Their relationship makes the film as much a love story as it is a noir film, because if ever there is a femme fatale, it is Norma Desmond. So she lands his head on a golden tray, kissing his cold, dead lips. Queen Kelly nearly ruined both of their careers after Joe Kennedy, JFKs dad who produced the film, replaced von Stroheim as director because Swanson complained about the racy material. He rose to prominence with his role in the movie "Sunset Boulevard" (1950), which landed him his first Best Actor Oscar nomination. Just us and the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark! Norma Desmond didnt need dialogue, she can say whatever she wants with her eyes. This is absolutely true, Nancy Reagan continued consulting her astrologer long after she stopped parking at studio lots. It has to be an opera. In fact, a pivotal plot point in the Showtime limited series of Twin Peaks (2017) includes a scene from "Sunset Boulevard" in which the character's name is mentioned. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The film originally opened and closed the story at the Los Angeles County Morgue. On the last day of shooting, Swanson drove back to the house she, her mother and daughter shared during production, announcing "there were only three of us in it now, meaning that Norma Desmond had taken her leave.". The antique car used as Norma Desmond's limousine is an 1929 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A, a luxury car made in Italy, and once belonged to 1920s socialite Peggy Hopkins Joyce. At one point Norma mistakes Joe for a funeral director and asks for her coffin to be white, as well as specially lined with satin. Sunset Blvd. Norma Desmond returns to the Paramount lot and is overcome with nostalgia. Norma Desmond says that she paid $28,000 for the Isotta-Fraschini car in 1929. This is a nod to retired silent-movie star Clara Bow, whose husband Rex Bell, a former star of "B" westerns, was the president of the Nevada Chamber of Commerce, and later Lieutenant Governor of Nevada. As the band plays 'Diane', we also see Desmond ascending her staircase. Oh, wake up, Norma. Features the only Oscar-nominated performances of Erich von Stroheim and Nancy Olson. The film's narrative structure bears a marked resemblance to that of American Beauty (1999). But also much funnier. For the cover photo of the very first issue, in April 1951, of what many consider the most important film magazine of all time, the Paris-based "Cahiers du Cinema, " the editors chose the image of Gloria Swanson and William Holden in her screening room. And like the title, Holden seemed to have the looks and muscular build Hollywood craved. [30] Holden made a Western with Ryan O'Neal and Blake Edwards, Wild Rovers (1971). 10060 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California, USA. Norma Talmadge and Constance Talmadge were famous for owning downtown real estate in Los Angeles and San Diego. As day breaks. When Joe and Betty stroll around the studio back lot they pass through the Washington Square set that was used in The Heiress (1949). There were three young directors who showed promise in those early days of silent film, D.W. Griffith, Cecil B. (1950), as a way of "art imitating life." The writers feared that Hollywood would react unfavorably to such a damning portrait of the film industry, so the film was code-named "A Can of Beans" while in production. Confess, Peavey, he laughed in the ghosts face. Wilder's version is the one they went with (he was the director, after all), but the argument marked a turning point for him, and he decided never to work with Brackett again. According to the Los Angeles Times, the actor long experienced alcoholism, and though he was able to avoid drinking when with lover Stefanie Powers, it ultimately helped pave the way for his death. Swanson was told "She can't show herself, Gloria, she's too overcome. The movie featured the famed director Erich von Stroheim, who made photographs of Gloria Swanson move so beautifully the world was enthralled, as Max Von Mayerling, the director who made, married, and divorced the enthralling Norma Desmondand then gave up his career in film to be her slave in butlers clothing. This still goes on today. In addition to the famous swimming pool, the studio also built sets to exactly duplicate Schwab's Drug Store in Hollywood and the Los Angeles County Morgue. Here's some backstage information to enhance your experience the next time you visit the Paramount lot.. It was widely known as a top Hollywood hangout for many actors, directors, writers and producers. Holden starred in the 20th Century Fox film Apartment for Peggy (1948). Film debut (uncredited) of Yvette Vickers. He received an eight-month suspended sentence for vehicular manslaughter. Paramount reunited him with Nancy Olson, one of his Sunset Boulevard costars, in Union Station (1950). To everyone's surprise, Judy Holliday won the Best Actress Oscar in 1951 for Born Yesterday (1950), beating Gloria Swanson in this film, and Bette Davis in All About Eve (1950). Marshman was a journalist but both Wilder and Brackett had been impressed by the critique he had given of their earlier film, The Emperor Waltz (1948). Billy Wilder was frustrated with people assuming that the ending was meant to be ambiguous and asking him what happens to Norma after the final dissolve. Paramount reunited Bracken and him in Young and Willing (1943). When Joe and Norma sit down to watch one of her old movies, Joe pulls out a cigarette and places the bottom end in his mouth. So funny that it took away from the rest of the picture. They had faces. A neglected house gets an unhappy look. Charles Brackett and Wilder were just as adamant that nothing in their scripts should be changed, and nothing new added. 4.99. A new 4K high-definition scan was done in 2008 for the film's release on Blu-ray disc. To shoot Joe and Norma dancing together at her New Year's Eve party, cameraman John F. Seitz used a dance dolly---a wheeled platform attached to the camera. Billy Wilder originally approached William Haines to play one of Norma's bridge partners. He contributed to Altvariety, Chiseler, Smashpipe, and other magazines. Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" is the portrait of a forgotten silent star, living in exile in her grotesque mansion, screening her old films, dreaming of a comeback. Brackett thought it was too mean while Wilder felt it was necessary. The only extant film elements were 35mm inter-positives struck in 1952, which had undergone a great deal of decay. This film is in the Official Top 250 Narrative Feature Films on Letterboxd. He was perfection on and off-screen. Holden was a bit of an anti-hero, or at least a very flawed hero. The actor-turned-director-turned-actor-again, who had indeed been one of the great silent-filmmakers, winced at playing a character so self-referential and demeaning, but he needed the money. He was perfection on- and off-screen. Or shall I call my servant? She said it was a blackmail scheme gone wrong. This promised to go the limit. Old whores dont fuck for fun, as the old saying goes. Sunset Boulevard is a noir film and like many of the post-World War II dark classics, it is covered with a thick sheen of cynicism. When Billy Wilder went back to him later to secure a close-up, DeMille charged him another $10,000. read more: Can The Biblical Epic be Resurrected? This page was last edited on 28 February 2023, at 22:44. It was a big hit, as was The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), a Korean War drama with Kelly.[20][21]. For purposes of authenticity Erich von Stroheim and Nancy Olson wore their own clothes in the film. Rudy's shoeshine stand at the parking lot where Gillis hides his car from the creditors was inspired by Oscar Smith's shoeshine stand located just inside the Bronson Gate at the old Paramount Studios, which was a popular hangout for gossip and socializing while Billy Wilder was building his career there. William Holden, original name William Franklin Beedle, Jr., (born April 17, 1918, O'Fallon, Illinois, U.S.found dead November 16, 1981, Santa Monica, California), American film star who perfected the role of the cynic who acts heroically in spite of his scorn or pessimism. . Erich von Stroheim could not drive in real life. Everyone had a good laugh, though the record doesn't reflect whether Marshall joined in. "[13]:174 The interactions between Bogart, Hepburn and Holden made shooting less than pleasant, as Bogart had wanted his wife, Lauren Bacall, to play Sabrina. [7], Back at Paramount, he starred with Bonita Granville in Those Were the Days! The last name of the studio executive played by Fred Clark is Sheldrake. David Lynch is an avid fan of the movie, having referenced it in films such as Inland Empire (2006), Mulholland Drive (2001)--which has a similar title and theme about the misfortunes of aspiring artists in Hollywood--and the television show Twin Peaks (1990), where Lynch himself played an FBI Bureau Chief named Gordon Cole. Ultimately she retired completely from films, making only sporadic appearances, notably in Airport 1975 (1974). Getty always wanted a pool, the poor dope. Both Mary Astor and Miriam Hopkins starred in TV versions of the film in 1955 and 1956, respectively. Gloria Swanson and Nancy Olson also co-starred in Airport 1975 together. Although a registered Republican, he never involved himself in politics. During Norma Desmond's New Years' Eve party, the band begin to play the song 'Diane', the theme of the 1927 film 7th Heaven (1927). [39][46] He dictated in his will that the Neptune Society cremate him and scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean. It is also one of the most frequently misquoted movie lines, usually given as, "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Von Stroheim didnt know how to drive, and the scene where hes driving the exotic leopard-upholstered Isotta-Fraschini was shot as the car was being towed. The musical version of the movie opened in London on July 12, 1993, and ran 1529 performances. 10 films that began filming without a finished script, Donald Trumps Bad Romance with Hollywood Began Before Parasite, Shazam! A disagreement over the montage where Norma puts herself through hell getting thinner and younger for her comeback nearly resulted in physical violence: Brackett thought it was too mean, while Wilder felt it was necessary to show what lengths a desperate actor would go to in Hollywood. [12] Swanson later said, "Bill Holden was a man I could have fallen in love with. It was built in 1924 by William Jenkins, at a cost of $250,000. ), a woman who trades on charms that have . She felt that Wilder used her name in a past-tense context, and she was offended. When Joe Gillis says, "They'll love it in Pomona," most people assume (correctly) that Pomona is intended to be representative of just about any average American town. A classic film review of Sunset Boulevard (1950) starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson and Eric Von StroheimDirected by acclaimed film maker Billy Wilder (. So in that scene, William Holden is driving over the future locations of Walk of Fame stars dedicated to the two people arguably most responsible for his success in Hollywood. Less popular was Satan Never Sleeps (1961), the last film of Clifton Webb and Leo McCarey; The Counterfeit Traitor (1962), his third film with Seaton; or The Lion (1962), with Trevor Howard and Capucine. The only addition was the swimming pool, which wasn't equipped with a means of circulating the water so it was useless after filming. Wilder almost hired Broadway star Marlon Brando, who would make his screen debut in The Men in 1950. The statuette on the telephone table at Artie Green's new years party is a model of the Philistine god, Dagon. In his place, Wilder hired Buster Keaton. He was a genuine star. preppy-3 15 March 2008. Whether he was the washed up screenwriter of Sunset Boulevard or the reluctant hero of The Bridge on the River Kwai, Holden kept audiences engrossed. The drugstore where Joe Gillis meets up with his old movie industry friends is Schwab's Pharmacy, then a real pharmacy/soda fountain at the intersection of Sunset Blvd. Holden had a supporting role in Ashanti (1979) and was third-billed in another disaster film, When Time Ran Out (1980), which was a flop. Without Norma Desmond, there wouldnt be any Paramount Pictures. So speaking of funerals, heres the great real life murder mystery we teased in the opening. Billy Wilder's 1978 Flop Fedora is less a worthy follow up to Sunset Boulevard than a sorry footnote. Swanson herself reportedly asked him to do it. Please, don't let it be true, it must be some mistake," per her memoir. At one point Norma mentions working with Mabel Normand and Marie Prevost. That should make the young blond Paramount actress-turned-script reader Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson) the virgin in the virgin/whore dynamic that film noir so often (and happily) deals in. (1950) Full Cast & Crew See agents for this cast & crew on IMDbPro Directed by Billy Wilder Writing Credits Cast (in credits order) verified as complete Produced by Charles Brackett . Norma Desmond was the greatest of them all. In 2007 the American Film Institute ranked this as the #16 Greatest Movie of All Time. In Billy Wilder's film, Erich von Stroheim plays the butler of Gloria Swanson's forgotten silent-film star. Holden met French actress Capucine in the early 1960s. The two actors never worked together in another film. [32] Also in 1974, Holden starred with Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in the critically acclaimed disaster film The Towering Inferno,[33] which became a box-office smash and one of the highest-grossing films of Holden's career. This inter-positive was scanned at 2,000 lines of resolution and electronically restored for the 2002 DVD reissue. [28] Columbia would not meet Holden's asking price of $750,000 and 10% of the gross for The Guns of Navarone (1961); the amount of money Holden asked exceeded the combined salaries of stars Gregory Peck, David Niven, and Anthony Quinn.[29]. Warner took the part. Sometimes its interesting to see just how bad, bad writing can be. The princess in love with a holy man, she dances the dance of the seven veils. Test audiences at the time couldnt let go of the joke, which was why it was re-edited this way. . His killer was never identified. [2] He had two younger brothers, Robert Westfield Beedle and Richard Porter Beedle. As far as being a forgotten star, past her prime, Norma is only 50 in the movie, Swanson was 53 when she made it and was herself very busy on the then-new medium of television. Fred MacMurray and Gene Kelly both turned down the role of Joe Gillis. Before he became a kept man for Norma Desmond, he was thinking of wrapping up the whole Hollywood deal and trying to get his old job back as a newspaperman in Dayton, Ohio. The older actor prided himself on needling people and he needled the shit out of Holden on the first movie, and the second movie was worse because Holden started dating Audrey Hepburn during filming. The Tragic 1981 Death Of Sunset Boulevard Star William Holden Grunge 2.14M subscribers Subscribe 486 18K views 3 weeks ago #Actor #Hollywood #SunsetBoulevard While Actor William Holden. "Waxwork" Buster Keaton was in reality an excellent bridge player, always in demand at Hollywood bridge parties. . Gloria Swanson's career was not revitalized by this film. Being born on 17 April 1918, William Holden was 63 years old at the time of his death. But attempts to turn the movie into a stage musical began almost immediately, spearheaded by none other than Gloria Swanson. The British author's satirical The Loved One was published in 1948, after Waugh had spent time in Hollywood observing the film industry and, of all things, the funeral industry. That's a reference to the traditional grey morning suit worn by the groom at a formal wedding. (The book is about a failed screenwriter who works for a cemetery and lives with a forgotten silent-film star.) But trophies or not, Sunset Boulevard has stayed near the top of the list of great movies about moviemaking. Norma, the aging silent-movie star who ensnares down-at-the-heels screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden), is the vamp become vampire (look at those clawlike hands! Billy Wilder wanted Hedy Lamarr to appear in a cameo in the scene where Norma and Joe visit Cecil B. DeMille at Paramount. This one had it in spades. [10] RKO borrowed him for Rachel and the Stranger (1948) with Robert Mitchum and Loretta Young. Marion Davies owned a famous ocean-front mansion in Santa Monica. In their scene together in Artie's bathroom Gillis mentions to Betty in his dramatic flirtation about having spent "12 years in the Burmese jungle", when coincidentally, just a few years later his character, Shears, finds himself lost there in David Lean's The Bridge on the River Kwai. The actor-turned-director bitched about that goddamned butler role for the rest his life. In fact, such was the buzz about the film during production that the viewing of the dailies became one of the hottest tickets on the lot. It is because of Sunset Blvd., for certain, that my mind could ever go there. When he appeared in the innovative Hollywood director Rouben Mamoulian's Golden Boy (1939), he was hailed as exactly that, but had seen his stock fall, largely through his problems with alcohol and a string of unmemorable films in the 1940s. [26], He made another war film for a British director, The Key (1958) with Trevor Howard and Sophia Loren for director Carol Reed. It would not be turned into a motion picture until: The Naked and the Dead (1958). The two stars had never expressed any hostility towards each other over the failure of Cecil B. DeMille and Stroheim made many recommendations to Wilder during the making of the film, including having his character write all of Norma Desmond's fan mail, and, more importantly, to use footage from "Queen Kelly" as an excerpt from one of Desmond's great silent films. In the movie, an aide tells Cecil B. DeMille "Gordon Cole has been trying to reach you". On February 7, 1955, Holden appeared as a guest star on I Love Lucy as himself. April 17, 2019 6:00AM. The 2014 book by William J. Mann, Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood, names Ross Blackie Madsen Sheridan as the killer, based on a death bed confession from actress Margaret Gibson, who beat a 1917 rap on prostitution and opium dealing. Erich von Stroheim dismissed his participation in this film, referring to it as "that butler role.". Despite the 19 year gap in their ages, Holden and Swanson died just 2 years apart from each other- Holden in 1981 at age 63 and Swanson in 1983 at age 84. Erich von Stroheim, who made the masterpiece Greed in 1924, directed Swanson in Queen Kelly (1928), the flick Holdens character cuddles up with Norma to watch in the dark screening room of the dark mansion. The interiors of Norma's decaying mansion were actually a set at Paramount Studios. The part was only Nancy Olson's third film appearance. Suratt believed that DeMille's epic, "The King of Kings" (released in 1927) was based on her screenplay and filed a $1,000,000 plagiarism suit which was settled out of court in 1930. Youre killing yourself for an empty house. For the record, the other 12 films to achieve a similar feat are Mrs. Miniver (1942), Johnny Belinda (1948), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Swanson made the transition to talkies with The Trespasser in 1929. William Holden (born William Franklin Beedle Jr.; April 17, 1918 November 12, 1981) was an American actor and one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1950s. "Variety" ran a front-page review, and this led to a belated release of Swanson's version in 1957 (the year of Stroheim's death). See production, box office & company info. He was also one of many stars in Feldman's Casino Royale (1967). After the. Well, they kissed, and kissed, and kept kissing, and the crew began to snicker, and finally Marshall's voice rang out: "Cut, dammit!" The 49-year-old film directors body was found on the morning of Feb. 2, 1922, inside his bungalow at the Alvarado Court Apartments in Westlake, Los Angeles. Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Holden, who was at this point dependent on alcohol, said, "I really was in love with Audrey, but she wouldn't marry me. on the corner of Crenshaw and Irving. . Winston was one of those who discovered the Golden Boy newcomer and who renamed himin honor of his former spouse!"[3]. Brackett and Wilder worked together on more than a dozen movies including The Lost Weekend. The role of Norma Desmond was initially offered to Mae West (who rejected the part), Mary Pickford (Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett realized when talking to her that her image as "America's Sweetheart" made her unsuitable for the part), and Pola Negri (Billy Wilder rejected her as her thick accent would cause too many problems) before being accepted by Gloria Swanson. (as Arthur Schmidt) The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. It is one of the most indelible films you will ever see. When Norma visits DeMille at Paramount, he's in the midst of shooting Samson and Delilah, which really is what he was up to at the time. It's probably just as well, since the darker, more nuanced story that eventually emerged was quite different from West's wheelhouse anyway. When filming began, William Holden was 31 and Gloria Swanson was 50, the same stated age as her character. The larger version is seen at the temple that Samson brings down in the movie Samson and Delilah (1949), which Cecil B. DeMille was shooting when Norma visits him at Paramount.