Monday, March 21, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday – Writers’ Edition

Today’s selection is one of my favorite movies if only because of the brilliant writing. It also happens to feature a writer as one of the main characters.

Directed by Billy Wilder in 1950, Sunset Blvd. is as classic as classic Hollywood can get. This film is a classic about classic Hollywood, exposing its glamour as well as its tragedies, all with fabulous irony.

Wonderful William Holden, who shows up in many of the classics I love, plays struggling movie screenwriter Joe Gillis. Struggling so much, in fact, that he has to outrun the repo man who is after his car. In a random move of evasion, he pulls his car into a garage on Sunset Boulevard and gets the door closed before the detectives buzz by. Needing to stay on the down low for a while, he investigates the residence acting as his hideout and finds that he’s at the house of former (and forgotten) silent film star diva Norma Desmond, played with legendary impact by Gloria Swanson who began her career as a silent film star herself. When Norma discovers that her uninvited houseguest is a screenwriter, she seizes the opportunity to employ him. She wants him to write her comeback picture, one that she plans to give to Cecil B. DeMille (who makes a cameo as himself) to direct and produce. Her delusions amuse Joe at first, but he quickly realizes that his washed up hostess believes her grandiose intentions and will do almost anything to accomplish them, which produces dire consequences for Joe in the end.

This movie has drama, comedy, mystery, incredible performances and, like I said, superb writing. In fact, the writing won an Oscar!

So, hopefully to entice you a little more to rent Sunset Blvd., here are a few lines...

Norma Desmond: You're a writer, you said.

Joe Gillis: Why?

Norma Desmond: Are you or aren't you?

Joe Gillis: That's what it says on my Guild card.

Norma Desmond: And you have written pictures, haven't you?

Joe Gillis: I sure have. Want a list of my credits?

Norma Desmond: I want to ask you something. Come in here.

Joe Gillis: Last one I wrote was about Okies in the Dust Bowl. You'd never know because when it reached the screen, the whole thing played on a torpedo boat.

If you know anything about screenwriting, you appreciate that exchange!

For more quotes from Sunset Blvd., CLICK HERE. Maybe you’ll see why it’s one of my favorites and why I recommend watching it.

Happy Monday, Dry Ground Friends. Be blessed.

(Photos by