Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a destitute young screenwriter who has a blowout while driving along Sunset Boulevard. He pulls into the driveway of a mansion and discovers that the house is haunted by the living, the sepulchral silent film actress Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and her devoted manservant Max (Erich von Stroheim).
Norma hires Joe to edit a screenplay she has been working on for years. The movie, Solome, will hail her “return” to the big screen and Norma has already set high expectations. She wants Cecil B. DeMille to direct it. She falls in love with Joe and virtually enslaves him through her lavish expenditures and her all-demanding egomania. Meanwhile Joe starts working with Betty Schaefer (Nancy
Olson), a studio story analyst. When the relationship ripens into love, Joe tries to walk out on Gloria. But Gloria never loses.
Directed by Billy Wilder
Within 30 days it would have been Billy Wilder`s (Director) 107th birthday.
* June 22, 1906
† March 27, 2002
Sunset Boulevard was adapted into a musical in 1993, with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The movie was the last major Hollywood feature to be filmed on a nitrate negative.
The role of Joe Gillis was initially offered to Montgomery Clift.
The role of Norma Desmond was initially offered to Mae West and Mary Pickford.
The story, written by Charles Brackett and Bily Wilder, initially was called A Can of Beans
The movie has been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Sunset Boulevard is a street in the western part of Los Angeles County and stretches approximately twenty-two miles in length. It has gained notoriety as a Red light district.
This week 60 years ago Stalag 17 premiered (May 29, 1953)
June 22, 1906
March 27, 2002
Billy Wilder was born in Sucha, Poland. From 1929 he worked as a screenwriter for silent films in Berlin until the Nazis came to power and the Jewish Wilder left for America.
Wilder knew little or no English when he arrived in Hollywood but was helped by film star Peter Lorre, with whom he once shared an apartment.
A turning point in his career came in 1938 when he began a long and succesful collaboration with screenwriter Charles Brackett which was expanded into a producer-director one in 1942. The duo turned such classics as Double Indemnity (1944), Five Graves to Cairo (1943) , The Lost Weekend (1945) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), after which the partnership dissolved.
During the 1950s Wilder continued a string of hit films including Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955) and Some like it hot (1959). Through the 1960s and 1970s, Wilder worked on several more films, although none was as successful as his previous ones.
Though his last film was made in 1981, Billy Wilder was still turning up to work at his Hollywood office well into his 80s.