Wow. Just finished watching the Collector’s Edition of Sunset Boulevard for the tenth time (not today, but in my life you louts!). This film is quite possibly my second favorite noir film of all-time. I’m a fan of Billy Wilder’s work and have been since I first viewed Double Indemnity when I was in grade school.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering why a plump 11-year old Mexican kid would watch old films. Well, the short of it is that my mother’s maternal instinct wasn’t as apparent as one might have hoped. Consequently, I pretty much took care of myself from an early age and television was more than an adequate substitute for parental influence.
From the moment I got home from school the afternoon movies on KCOP channel 13 out of Los Angeles kept me from doing drugs (that came later) or joining a gang.
Anyway, I digress. Sunset Boulevard is an amazing story and the collector’s edition DVD has a great “making of” special feature that includes interviews with the film’s principal cast as well as assorted producers, studio heads and film scholars who shed light on the story behind the story. The most interesting info that I was new to me had to be the fact that Mae West was originally tapped to play the role Gloria Swanson played, Nora Desmond.
Other tidbits that any fan of this film should already know: Buster Keaton plays a non-speaking role as one of Nora Desmond’s card-playing friends; Erich von Stroheim plays the fallen director who is Nora Desmond’s butler… in real life, Erich von Stroheim is alleged to be responsible for the film that killed her career in the late 20s, Queen Kelly.