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Netflix it!: ‘Sunset Boulevard’

by Cyrus Dos Santos

Take a look inside Hollywood. Today’s reality television is a farce when it comes to the real Hollywood. The movie “Sunset Boulevard” gives its audience a true view of Tinsel Town. For those of you who have never witnessed film noir and do not know this film, welcome to the beginning of time.

“Sunset Boulevard” takes its audience into the desperate life of a Hollywood writer Joe Gillis, played by William Holden. He  struggles to make ends meet, the creditors are after him for delinquent payments on his car. After blowing them off, he attempts to move his vehicle to a safe location. A chase ensues, there is a blowout that forces him to pull into a driveway on “Sunset Boulevard.” After parking his car in an empty garage, he thinks he is alone. Gillis is surprised when a butler caught and summoned him to the main residence.

Individuals from today’s generation must leave their comfort zone of cinematic dialogue. The genre is film noir, it has the antithesis of bad writing, but it is different. The tone has to be embraced, it sets the mood. After being led in by Max Von Mayerling, the butler played by Erich Von Stroheim, Gillis stumbles into the secret world of the incredibly famous.

Gillis is an eyewitness to the truly bizarre circus life of the rich. He is a talented writer who sold his soul for the silver screen. After the film industry bled him dry, he scrambles about in search of the next story.

Enters Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), the owner of the garage and home Gillis intruded upon. A star from the silent film era who evaporated from the scene, and for after many years lived her life in seclusion, hiding herself from the world.

When Desmond learns of Gillis’ occupation, her general mood of annoyance transforms into one of opportunity. Similar to most in Hollywood, she has a screenplay, a comeback that will once again catapult her to the rightful place on the marquee, top billing. Following is an up close view of the privileged when their power and reputations are lost.

Still relevant 65 years after it was made, “Sunset Boulevard” is a story of seizing opportunity when presented, the dangers of using another for personal gain and a sharp indictment on the film industry’s fickleness.

There is even a cameo appearance by Cecil B. DeMille, one of the greatest film directors of all time. Released in 1950, “Sunset Boulevard” co-written and directed by Academy Award Winner Billy Wilder, won three Oscars and remains a classic among any in depth conversation regarding the history of film.