Monday, October 11, 2010

Bloggaday 236 – SPF: A Film Review of “Sunset Boulevard” pt 1

Bloggaday 236 – SPF: A Film Review of “Sunset Boulevard” pt 1

SPF stand for “School Paper Forum,”* so this has become an official segment of the Bloggaday

This paper was written for Professer Dias for my SSCI 306 class at CSUSB. It’s a film review for the film “Sunset Boulevard.” It’s a thousand words, so I’ll post it in two parts. This is part 1

David Dysart

SSC 306 10:40-11:50

Rough Draft

October 8, 2010

Film Review

Released in 1950, “Sunset Boulevard” was produced by Charles Brackett and directed by Billy Wilder. While the film is dated, it performed admirable with acting and production that seems to draw you into the world of the film.

“Sunset Boulevard” follows a screenplay writer, Joe Gillis (William Holden) as he tries to get out from under financial woes. While it starts off with Joe’s storyline, it switches focus to the even greater difficulties of Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a silent film era star out of the public’s eye. Despite this change of theme, Joe still plays an important part in the movie. He is instrumental along with Max (Erich Von Stroheim) in Norma’s storyline. He continues to grow as a character in his own storyline but also introduces the Betty Schaeffer (Nancy Olson) character, a dewy-eyed reader and aspiring writer, and her plot that he also uses as a vehicle for character growth.

Despite the amount of screen time Joe gets, the prominent theme of the story is Norma’s inability to deal with change. This involves the change of her age, time, and stardom. While the film industry and the world as a whole has left her behind, she finds it hard to escape her past glory, and this is the central theme of the film.

Aside from the themes of the movie, the film as a whole seems a bid stilted and over the top. What few movies I have seen from this period seemed to have been done in the same manner, so that seems to be more of an issue with older movies rather than just this film.

One of the things that were a bit overdone is the acting. I’ve heard quite a few times that acting should look like your not acting at all. I rarely felt that from “Sunset Boulevard.” I enjoyed Gloria Swanson as Norma. You could tell she had a lot of the same background (both the actress and the character starred in silent movies) as the character she played. Other than the occasional overacting, she was still enthralling as Norma. Miss Swanson was able to capture the essence of the various levels of insanity of the character. Any hammy acting can easily be written off as the character getting stuck in her old acting day.

The other female character, Betty Schaeffer also felt believable, if just a bit much. She seemed like a very eager person wanting to make a name for herself, kind of like what Joe would have been when he first came to Hollywood. She was a bit of a character, but the acting was well done. I could see people describing her as “fresh off the bus from Oklahoma.”

Aside from Norma, Max, her butler, was my favorite character. He was the vehicle for several main plot points and moves the story along nicely. Erich Von Stroheim provided exactly the acting that was needed for the part.

Well, I think I’ll stop there. My last bit on acting segues into more, so this is the best spot. There’s just over 500 words left, so tomorrow will rap this up.

I just think it’s outrageous

Profiling, that’s for sure

To always say

The butler

He did


Listening to

Voicethreads for my Psych 101 class

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Hey, I wrote a film review for “Sunset Boulevard.” It’s only a rough draft and only spent 3 hours on it, but only on Bloggaday

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* and of course it’s a pun on sunblock, SPF**

** Sun protection factor?***

*** Haha! I was right

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