Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Sunset Boulevard - More 31 Days of Oscar

Somehow I'd never seen Sunset Boulevard, though I've seen the opening part (face down in the pool) referenced and parodied a million times. And despite the many parodies of that opener, I didn't even know what the movie was about.

Joe Gillis is broke, can't find work, and two repo men are after his car. So he ducks into a seemingly deserted mansion to stash his ride, but finds that aging silent film star Norma Desmond is holed up in there almost Miss Havisham style. She has some story ideas to resurrect her career, and Joe takes a job as her ghost writer. At first it's a quick job to make some quick cash, but soon he's moving into the space above her garage like so much Fonzie, and he's a kept man. And from there it becomes a sort of a sad look at a fallen star.

It's supposed to be one of the great American films, and while I enjoyed it, it didn't grab me like Casablanca or Hitchcock films or anything. Cool noir-ish cinematography, some good performances (Nancy Olson is quite good, and adorable)... but I think in the end, I'd seen so many imitators that the original didn't seem fresh to me.

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