Photoplay Sneak Previews: “Sunset Boulevard”
In “SUNSET BOULEVARD” the Brackett and Wilder team use Hollywood’s studios, pools and boulevards for its stage. Its stars, directors and producers are their characters.
Gloria Swanson, who returns to the screen after a nine years’ absence, plays a great star of the silent screen who lives completely in her past. Hollywood is toasting Gloria’s comeback. Her company did, too, when the picture was shooting. She helped Edith Head design her leopard-skin sarong. And when Bill Holden rebelled at spending hours with a dance instructor, she taught him the tango in three minutes. She presented one problem. She admits to being fifty-one, but had to be “grayed” so she wouldn’t photograph thirty-five.
Gloria (with director Billy Wilder) loaned Paramount the dozens of old paintings and photographs of herself used in this film
Norma (Gloria Swanson) meets struggling writer Joe Gillis (William Holden), hires him to prepare the script for her anticipated screen comeback and insists he be her house guest
Tormented by Norma’s jealousy, Joe leaves her house. At New Year’s Eve party, he’s attracted to Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson). Norma’s attempt at suicide brings him back
Misinterpreting a phone message, Norma goes to Cecil B. De Mille, certain he wants to direct her in comeback. De Mille can’t bring himself to tell her he only wanted to rent her old car
Norma, discovering Joe loves Betty, calls her, suggests she find out how Joe lives. Joe, overhearing, asks Betty to the house, denounce himself, and then turns on Norma
The next morning Joe’s body is found in swimming pool; Norma’s mind is gone. Only through butler (Erich Von Stroheim) do police fit together the pieces, close the case
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE JUNE 1950