‘Mr Demille, I’m ready for my close-up’
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Last night the lady and I attended a 65th anniversary screening of Sunset Boulevard at Laemmle’s Royal Theatre in West LA. The screening, kicked off with with an introduction by Nancy Olson (the sole surviving member of the film’s stellar cast), and was the first time my lady friend got to experience Wilder’s 1950’s classic projected on the big screen. The film plays just as well after all these years, remaining one of the most scathing critiques of Hollywood to date. The picture stars William Holden as the handsome young hack who unexpectedly stumbles upon the likes of wacked out former Silent film Star Nora Desmond (portrayed brilliantly by Gloria Swanson), and her servant/ex-husband Max Von Mayerling (played by famed silent film director Erich Von Stroheim).
‘Voice-over monologues are often utilized in Cinema to represent ironic contrasts between the past and present. This device is demonstrated at the the beginning of the film, quite effectively by the likes of William Holden’s character Joe Gillis. Through the use of clever narration, Holden set’s up the storyline, while onscreen his character is lifelessly floating facedown in Lady Desmond’s swimming pool.