What We Do in the Dark!

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“We didn’t need dialogue. We had faces!” Norma Desmond

 

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As she descended the well-worn stairs of her aged and decadent mansion steeped in long past memories, Norma Desmond uttered the declaration that forever remains in the memories of those who witnessed her performance in the 1950 classic, “Sunset Boulevard.” It’s impossible to forget those delusional words spoken by the creepy Norma Desmond as she is escorted through the end scene for her deadly deed; not surprisingly surrounded by gawkers vying for a tiny glimpse of the reclusive silent film star.

 

 

Before the film, I had only heard of Gloria Swanson but hadn’t seen any of her films. After witnessing her tour-de-force performance as the legendary diva, Norma Desmond, I sought out every movie of hers that I could. Wow, she inhabited the role of Norma Desmond with intimate knowledge of the silent film era since those were Swanson’s actual glory days. By the way, the dialogue is both fantastic and hilarious.

 

Gloria May Josephine Swanson (March 27, 1899 – April 4, 1983)

 

“Sunset Boulevard” (stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.) is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the boulevard that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, California. (Wikipedia)

 

The film stars William Holden as Joe Gillis, an unsuccessful screenwriter, and Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a faded silent film star who draws him into her fantasy world where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen, with Erich von Stroheim as Max Von Mayerling, her devoted servant.

 

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Erich von Stroheim, William Holden, Gloria Swanson

 

Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough and Jack Webb play supporting roles. Director Cecil B. DeMille and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper play themselves, and the film includes cameo appearances by leading silent film actors Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner, and Anna Q. Nilsson.

 

Praised by many critics when first released, Sunset Boulevard was nominated for eleven Academy Awards (including nominations in all four acting categories) and won three. Deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1989, Sunset Boulevard was included in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked number twelve on the American Film Institute‘s list of the 100 best American films of the 20th century, and in 2007, it was 16th on their 10th Anniversary list. (Wikipedia)

 

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I’ve never been a famous movie star (maybe stage😎) But God help me if I ever get that Norma Desmond look in my eyes, dial 911!

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