Close-up on Sunset Boulevard

Close-up on Sunset Boulevard

By Sam Staggs

  • Release Date : 2003-02-04
  • Genre : Film
  • FIle Size : 1.27 MB
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Close-up on Sunset Boulevard Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, a classic film noir and also a damning dissection of the Hollywood dream factory, evokes the glamour and ruin of the stars who subsist on that dream. It's also one long in-joke about the movie industry and those who made it great-and who were, in turn, destroyed by it. One of the most critically admired films of the twentieth century, Sunset Boulevard is also famous as silent star Gloria Swanson's comeback picture.

Close-Up On Sunset Boulevard tells the story of this extravagant work, from the writing, casting and filming to the disastrous previews that made Paramount consider shelving it. It's about the writing team of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett-sardonically called "the happiest couple in Hollywood"-and their raucous professional relationship. It's about the art direction and the sets, the costumes, the props, the lights and the cameras, and the personalities who used those tools to create a cinematic work of art.

Staggs goes behind the scenes to reveal: William Holden, endlessly attacked by his bitter wife and already drinking too much; Nancy Olson, the cheerful ingenue who had never heard of the great Gloria Swanson; the dark genius Erich von Stroheim; the once famous but long-forgotten "Waxworks"; and of course Swanson herself, who-just like Norma Desmond-had once been "the greatest star of them all."

But the story of Sunset Boulevard doesn't end with the movie's success and acclaim at its release in l950. There's much more, and Staggs layers this stylish book with fascinating detail, following the actors and Wilder into their post-Sunset careers and revealing Gloria Swanson's never-ending struggle to free herself from the clutches of Norma Desmond.

Close-Up On Sunset Boulevard also chronicles the making of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical production of Sunset Boulevard and the explosive diva controversies that dogged it. The book ends with a shocking example of Hollywood life imitating Hollywood art. By the last page of this rich narrative, readers will conclude: We are those "wonderful people out there in the dark.", close up on sunset boulevard, close up on sunset boulevard sam staggs


  • Good information. Bad writing.

    By Leon864588
    There are some interesting things in this, but it's badly written. The author's word choice is particularly grating. Long, clunky complex words break the rhythmic flow. It's like he's trying to show the world that he's super intellectual and intelligent. Well, he's not. Good writing flows like music. This reads like noise. And it's also too long. It's 800 pages. It could easily have been 400. What takes a sentence, takes this author a paragraph. What takes a paragraph, takes him a chapter. His writing style is just really annoying. But you should purchase this if you're a Sunset Boulevard aficionado. Just don't expect it to be an enjoyable read. Read it for its informational value only. If you're looking for something well written and incredibly entertaining, I highly recommend Gloria Swanson's autobiography, Swanson on Swanson. (Keep in mind she's only devoted one chapter to Sunset Boulevard). P.s. I one hundred percent do NOT agree that Glenn Close was the best musical Norma. She's can't sing properly and her Norma is overacted and over-the-top (much like this author's writing). Patti LuPone is by far the best musical Norma. She sings it the best and respects the music by never breaking the line. Furthermore, her performance is subtle and nuanced - two words this author does not understand.