Sunset Boulevard [Blu-ray]
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Sunset Boulevard is a film that will stay with me forever and one that's become a classic for one really good reason: It's a flawless production.
The documentary on the disc does a good job of demonstrating just how unique the tone of this story is, how it perfectly navigates between funny and sad. Not everyone in Hollywood saw the funny side when it was released, and it lost to ALL ABOUT EVE at that year's Oscars. So what? With this disc, SUNSET BOULEVARD is finally getting it's due.
Besides the documentary, you can read two screenplay drafts of an excised opening sequence, explore 1950's Hollywood with an interactive map and watch the film with audio commentary by a critic and historian. All these features are secondary, of course, to the movie. It looks gorgeous. The black and white picture is rich and crisp, the sound is re-mastered and the story is as compelling as ever. The special features only do what all good special features should do on a DVD. They add to the richness of the film. You may already know that Eric von Stroheim (who plays a character who directed Gloria Swanson's character in silent films) directed Gloria Swanson in silent films. But did you know that the drugstore where all the screenwriter's hang out in the movie is the drug store where F. Scott Fitzgerald had a heart attack in 1940? One of the reasons I love this movie is because it is so rich with Hollywood history.
I can't recommend this disc highly enough. Kudos to Columbia for doing right by a classic, a real film lover's film. I love this movie and I love this disc! 5/5 stars.
The image quality on this DVD is first-rate. The DVD case indicates that the film is presented in "full screen" format, which is somewhat misleading. It gives the false impression that the film has been "formatted" to fit a standard television. While the image does fit the screen without black bars on the top and bottom, the original aspect ratio of the film has been preserved. That is because it is not a "wide screen" film. Like most films of the period it was shot in standard 1.33:1 (or 4:3), which is the same aspect ratio as a standard television set, so cinema purists need not be alarmed. In other words, there is no annoying "pan and scan" of the image or parts of the frame cropped off to fill the television screen.
For those unfamiliar with the film, it is a scathing portrait of Hollywood and how it discards people when it is decided that they are no longer "useful." The casting of the film is inspired. It was if the parts were written for them. Gloria Swanson was indeed a faded silent film star, who had all but disappeared from the movies (although she was still active in the entertainment business). William Holden, while not a down-and-out screenwriter as depicted in the film, was a once promising young actor whose career was stagnating. Erich von Stroheim did in fact work in Hollywood as a director. Put this in the "art imitates life category": an excerpt of QUEEN KELLY, von Stroheim's ill-fated film starring Gloria Swanson appears in one scene. The cast also includes filmmaker Cecil B.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The sound was not aligned to the film in the second half. Made this copy a bit annoying to watch.Published 4 days ago by Margaret OShaughnessy
What else can you say about this film but, "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille."Published 8 days ago by Michael J. DeBenedetto
Creepy, campy movie. Very enjoyable. Great lines. Gloria clearly vamped for this one. Holden's a bit stiff and Hollywood in a hardboiled, detective style, although he doesn't play... Read morePublished 15 days ago by P. West
Although this film is sixty five years old, it is still a pleasure to watch it. The acting and the story itself and the direction are superb. I highly recommend it.Published 1 month ago by Israel Drazin