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Films // Coming up // Sunset Boulevard
Dir. Billy Wilder | USA 1950 | 110 min | PG
Our director spotlight season on the master-auteur Billy Wilder concludes with his iconic, cinematic commentary on stardom and the film industry itself.
Starring Gloria Swanson as the inimitable Norma Desmond, Eric von Stroheim as her butler, William Holden and a rare cameo from deadpan comedy genius Buster Keaton; SUNSET BOULEVARD is a masterclass in film-making and one of the first serious depictions of life in Hollywood.
Joe Gillis (Holden) stumbles across a decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard and hides there, assuming it to be uninhabited. He discovers that it is the home of silent movie queen Norma Desmond, who is lost in her dreams of former glory. Her servant and former director Max von Mayerling helps preserve her fragile illusions. Desperate for money, Gillis agrees to work on the script for her supposed comeback vehicle and finds himself becoming a kept man to the possessive movie star. On the sly he meets with the idealistic young studio script reader Betty Schaefer, who likes one of his projects, and the two gradually fall in love. Norma Desmond, however, grows increasingly suspicious and jealous, setting the stage for a fateful confrontation.