I watched Sunset Boulevard for the first time this weekend. Simply amazing, brilliant movie that had the courage to hold a mirror up to Hollywood long before The Big Picture or The Player or Swimming with Sharks, with two of the most incredible performances this side of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?
It has some fantastically quotable moments, too. Transcribing them does not do them justice at all, but here are a two:
"I heard you had some talent."Man, if that doesn't capture the desperate reality of this business, I don't know what does.
"That was last year. This year, I'm trying to make a living."
-Betty Schaefer (reader) and Joe Gillis (struggling writer)
"You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!... All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."Everyone knows the often-misquoted "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," but the most chilling and perfectly-delivered line within that line is when Gloria Swanson says, "and those wonderful people out there in the dark" with equal parts contempt and fascination, like an addict who hates that he loves his drugs . . . but he loves them so much.
- Norma Desmond
It's a really magnificent movie, and if you haven't seen it, it's worth a spot in your Netflix queue.