Behind The Scenes: Sunset Blvd (1950)

[after hearing that Norma Desmond has come to see DeMille]
First assistant director: “I can tell her you’re all tied up in the projection room. I can give her the brush.”
Cecil B. DeMille: “Thirty million fans have given her the brush. Isn’t that enough?”

A huge thank you to Quint for his continuing Behind the Scenes series over at Ain’t It Cool News. I first saw the amazing Sunset Blvd. in my Drama III class back in High School and much like Quint I was totally sucked into the movie from the opening…which I won’t spoil in case you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing it for yourself. But in brief it deals with Joe Gillis (Holden) a writer who writes a screenplay for a once legendary silent film star, Norma Desmond (Swanson).

Sunset Blvd. was helmed and written by the late and great Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot), Gloria Swanson (Beyond The Rocks), William Holden (The Wild Bunch), Erich von Stroheim (Greed), and Jack Webb (Dragnet). Stroheim and Swanson worked together before in 1929’s Queen Kelly, though their partnership in the film as director and actress didn’t end well for that production, a clip from the movie is seen in Sunset Blvd, suggest by Stroheim for it’s irony.


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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2 thoughts on “Behind The Scenes: Sunset Blvd (1950)

  1. patrick j doody says:

    This is one of my favorite movies. SO much, that I (prepare to be jealous) lived in the Alto Nido apartments for many years. I moved there for the very reason that Joe Gillis lived there.

    Now, I did NOT live in the same apartment that the camera moves in on. (The interior was a set anyway.) The units all had little differences in them. I lived in two different ones while there. They had been restored, and looked beautiful.

    It was a really cool building with an eclectic mix of Hollywood personalities. During my stay there, they shot The Black Dahlia. Rumor was Elizabeth Short lived in the building, but it’s never been confirmed. However, during the shoot, they converted the lobby to mirror 1940s Los Angeles. It was pretty wild. They also had the whole street lined with prop cars from the era. It felt like you lived during the golden age of Hollywood.

    Of course, you still have to climb over the rows of homeless, pot smoking junkies that lined Ivar Ave.

    Hollywood. No wonder Joe Gillis ended up dead in a pool.

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