Sunset Blvd. (1950)

(On VHS, November 2000) There’s a reason this film is often called a classic: Great script, archetypical characters, unconventional plotting and crunchy dialogue. Narration has quite possibly never been done this well ever since. Surprisingly enough, modern films have stolen a lot from Sunset Boulevard: The style of L.A. Confidential, lines from Cecil B. Demented, clichés from Hollywood exposés (“I’m still big; it’s the pictures that got smaller”), scenes from countless parodies… It’s a testimony to the impact of the film. Granted, Hollywood loves talking about itself, and that might explain Sunset Boulevard‘s enduring reputation, but the film itself is rather good. Not only a good story, but also a courageous film, with its willingness to go beyond the star system while simultaneously starring some personalities as themselves (Cecil B. Demille, Buster Keaton, a Warner brother, etc…) Wow.

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