Monday, April 18, 2011

Classic Movie Monday - Sunset Blvd.

I was interrupted approximately eleventy billion times while trying to watch this but I finally made it and was so glad I did - it was amazing.

I watched this online and did all my own screencaps and...kinda went crazy with them because there were so many great scenes.

Warning - there's a dead guy in the pool. But I thought this shot was awesome, and so did Missie because she used it too. ;)

"Poor dope always wanted a pool."

Joe is a script writer in Hollywood who is down on his luck and trying unsuccessfully to either get a job or get someone to loan him some money. He blows a tire dodging some repo men and pulls into the garage of a dilapidated mansion. He likens it to Miss Havisham's home from Great Expectations and it has that same what mess am I getting myself into? sort of feel. Especially shown below when the butler tells him as he ascends the stairs, "If you need any help with the coffin, let me know." I love the look on Joe's face.

Oh and the coffin is for THIS. And yes I screamed a bit. I really do not like chimps or apes and this?

The home - and the dead chimp - belong to Norma, an aging diva from the silent films age. She is fantastically dramatic and weird and I took a bunch of screencaps of her looks and faces.

"Sat coiled up like a watch spring..."

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small."

"Kissing his cold, dead lips..."

Norma is obsessed with two things: being a star and being adored. While Joe is the main character and narrates the story, she really takes over the story, just as she takes over his life.

"Don't they know what a star looks like any more?"

Norma likes Joe and decides to keep him. I mean that in all senses of the word. Joe doesn't really like being a kept man but doesn't really know what else to do with himself. He lives in a mansion with a pool, tennis court, bowling alley, movie theater, ballroom, etc. and gets a closet full of fancy suits.

"DeMille said I was his greatest star..."

"Of course you didn't, I wouldn't let you."  

Right about here is where things go from strange to way off the deep end. 
I really loved the use of mirrors in this film.

"That's a lie they still want me!"

"You heard him...I'm a star..."

Joe unintentionally starts a little something on the side...

Which upsets Norma considerably. She's incredibly unstable anyway but this really sent her over the edge.

I loved the way this scene was shot with half the man's face in shadow. Not only perfect for the creepy revelation given here but truly he'd become half the man he was.

This film is gloriously creepy and really won me over with that bit of Toccata and Fugue on the pipe organ. If you get a chance to watch this, absolutely do.

I found this Sunset Blvd in 5 Minutes video that I thought was pretty funny. Spoiler warning though - it gives you the whole plot.


Missie said...

Yay! I'm glad you liked it too. I thought it was fantastic. And I love your comment, "Norma likes Joe and decided to keep him. I mean that in all senses of the word." That was the creepiest part for me. :)

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

Oh wow! I haven't seen the movie, but I saw it on Broadway about 15 years ago with Betty Freakin Buckley as Norma. I still get goosebumps when I think about it.

Mrs. Cheerio said...

Oh, its such a great one! How sad an existence though... to be so fully convinced of who you are/your identify and never know the truth.

Loving your blog! I found it on Buzz Thursday. :)

theoncominghope said...

Just rewatched Sunset Blvd. the other day! But it occurred to me that perhaps Joe is the villain and Norma is the hero of the piece?

I go into a lengthy explanation why here: