Sunset Boulevard 1950

Amazon Instant Video

(117) IMDb 8.5/10

Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, an ageing silent film queen, and William Holden as the struggling writer who is held in thrall by her madness, created two of the screen?s most memorable characters in Sunset Boulevard. Winner of three Academy Awards?, director Billy Wilder?s orchestration of the bizarre tale is a true cinematic classic.

Starring:
William Holden,Gloria Swanson
Runtime:
1 hour, 50 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director Billy Wilder
Starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson
Supporting actors Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Franklin Farnum, Larry Blake, Charles Dayton, Cecil B. DeMille
Studio Paramount
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Harvey Vincent on 7 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
The three serious Oscar contenders for best actress of 1950 were Bette Davis for "All About Eve", Judy Holliday in "Born Yesterday" and (of course!) Gloria Swanson for "Sunset Boulevard". Surprisingly Holliday won. It was said that Davis and Swanson cancelled each other out because they both played actresses. At the time there was some carping that Swanson did not deserve the award because she was merely acting herself while Davis and Holliday gave striking interpretations. Now more than 60 years later perspectives have changed. Denigrating Gloria Swanson's work displayed ignorance in the art of acting. When presented with this argument, Swanson said that she used aspects of herself in the role which included her fabulous career as a silent film star as do all good film actresses, but in real life she was far from Norma Desmond. When looking at these three films today, it is clear to me that Swanson rated the Academy Award (as in horse racing: by a nose). Hers is a highly complex role bordering on the ridiculous. Without the masterful collaboration of writer-director Billy Wilder she could have easily gone off the rails. Her totally integrated performance is pure cinema. Note the canny use of her eyes, her hands, every majestic silent movie gesture, the unusually intense inner concentration. In "Born Yesterday" director George Cukor shrewdly guided Judy Holliday in her first starring role, but the movie remains a crafty reproduction of Holliday's successful Broadway comedy. Writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz, as much a woman's director as Cukor, gave Bette Davis in "All About Eve" the most sophisticated original screenplay ever written and directed her to give an astonishing performance.Read more ›
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful By B. Alcat on 8 Sept. 2006
Format: DVD
I watched "Sunset Boulevard" (1950) for the first time a few days ago, after a friend lent it to me. I am very grateful to him because otherwise I probably wouldn't have rented it, or at least not anytime soon. And truth to be told, this is the kind of movie that you simply should watch as soon as possible. From my point of view, "Sunset Boulevard" is, like "Casablanca" and "The Maltese falcon", a classic.

This film is directed by Billy Wilder, and narrated by a dead man that appears in one of the first scenes floating in a swimming pool. It sounds strange, doesn't it? Despite that, it is very effective! The opening sequence is strong, but things get better and better as the story goes on. Despite that, a word of caution is in order: if you don't like black humour, don't watch "Sunset Boulevard", because this satire of the perverse side of Hollywood has it in spades.

One of the main characters is Joe Gillis (William Holden), a screenwriter without money that happens to hide from his creditors in an old mansion that seems to be empty. That is unfortunately not the case... The mansion is no less than the home of Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a rich woman that used to be a silent screen star, and that wants to be famous again. That appears to be the reason why she employs Joe to improve a very long script she has written for her comeback, and also the reason why she insists that Joe is to stay at her house in the meantime. Joe isn't fond of the idea of staying in the mansion with the old woman and her creepy butler, Max (Erich von Stroheim), but he has no money, so he has to accept. Joe Gillis is like a fly caught in a spider's web: from the moment he enters Norma's house he is doomed, he just doesn't know it yet.

What will happen?
Read more ›
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By film fan VINE VOICE on 9 Dec. 2005
Format: DVD
This is a great and extremely dark look at what happens when the film cameras aren't rolling. It tells the story, in vivid flash-back, how a down-on-his-luck script writer (William Holden) happens across a forgotton and ageing silent screen icon called Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) who believes she can help him revive his career and thinks that he can bring her back into the limelight again. She falls for him and showers him with gifts, and wants him for herself. He in turn thinks that she is mad and losing her marbles, but he soon finds himself in thrall of her madness and it soon leads to his downfall.

Quite possibly the best film I've seen on the dark and disturbingly desperate side of Hollywood, it begins superbly with a stunning opening sequence and having the voice-over of the deceased. One of the best opening sequences I've seen to possibly any film. The acting is first-rate with Gloria Swanson on blistering form as the forgotton silent screen goddess wanting to come back to the big time and William Holden equally impressive as the struggling writer. There are star turns by a handful of Hollywood's elite of the time; Buster Keaton (one of the greats of silent screen), H B Warner and Cecil B. DeMille. Directed by Billy Wilder, a masterful director and screen-writer in his own right, it's memorable, brilliant and sheer class. Features in my Top 10 no question.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By JsyMaxius67 on 18 April 2013
Format: Blu-ray
at long last this priceless gem of a film has made the jump to blu ray,and what a blu ray it is.the restoration is spotless,there is not a single scratch,or a trace of dirt or dust in the print.the dense grain structure has been left in and it brings out all the smallest detail in the picture.the high quality is from start to finish,no patchy bits anywhere.there is no evidence of digital noise reduction any where and the tones look natural and as they should be.it now seems the studios have learnt that massive amounts of digital noise reduction is the wrong way to go,and films should be treated with cotton gloves,rather then manhandled with industrial rubber gloves.this blu ray is worth every penny
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