Sunset Boulevard ★★★★

Scavenger Hunt 67 (October)

Film 30/31 - Task 4 - Buster Keaton

For all of my love of movies, I have significant gaps in my viewing history.  Never having seen Sunset Boulevard was until last night one of them.  

Before I even watched it I knew so much about it.  Billy Wilder, the framing device, Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, William Holden, so many lines that are still iconic and part of Hollywood’s lexicon. 

Still, I wasn’t fully expecting to enjoy this as much as I did.  Exceptionally well done and beyond brilliantly acted.  Gloria Swanson was simply astonishing and I love a young William Holden.  It’s tale of aging in Hollywood and how even in 1950 there were no new stories to be told is acidic and timeless.

Yet, as with so many movies from before the 60s, there is a cognitive dissonance I experience that prevents me from fully emotionally engaging and connecting. It must be me.  Nonetheless, that bias is what prevents me from rating this higher.

I can still appreciate its genius in the abstract though and I definitely enjoyed the time capsule nature of the film and the performances.  I just know that emotional heft of the film should have hit me harder and it just fell a bit short.

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