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Close-up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream by [Staggs, Sam]
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Close-up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Length: 433 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Staggs serves up another round of popcorn in this highly enjoyable follow-up to All About "All About Eve," plumbing the depths of the noir homage to the silent era, Sunset Boulevard. The book traces the film's history from the studio pairing of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett as screenwriters to the Academy Award disappointments to the film's rebirth as an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in the 1990s. Staggs's research is impressive: in addition to traditional print sources, he tapped unexpected sources, such as the film's previously uninterviewed supporting actress Nancy Olson, and explored nifty locales, like Norma Desmond's would-be neighborhood. The intrepid reporting results in little-known film facts: how co-art director John Meehan conceived and set up the face-down water shot of the dead Joe Gillis (William Holden) and why then-megastar Montgomery Clift did not want to play opposite older female character Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). Also entertaining are Staggs's descriptions of the many behind-the-scenes cat fights. Some of Staggs's film analysis such as his take on the "crowd-pleasing kitsch" sound movies of Cecil B. DeMille is standard, but his opinions on the Wilder-Brackett and Wilder-I.A.L. Diamond pairings are sharp and original. There are also plenty of edifying sidebars on topics such as the history of Norma Desmond's exotic car (the Isotta-Fraschini), changes made to the script and "Smiling Franklyn Farnum," the silent western star who plays Norma Desmond's pet undertaker. Staggs has succeeded in presenting another remarkable film study. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

From the author of All About All About Eve comes another intense look at a film classic. Written in a campy, opinionated style, this is everything you ever wanted to know about Sunset Boulevard and some things you might not. It includes a history of the Billy Wilder-Charles Brackett screenwriting partnership, actual Hollywood locations where the film was shot, intimate details about the stars, and even a history of Gloria Swanson's Isotta Fraschini, the ultimate star car. Nothing about this film seems to have escaped the author. He even can't resist pitting the actresses who played Norma Desmond in the musical version against each other to determine who was the ultimate "Singing Norma." This is no doubt a fun read, and Staggs knows his material; it is just difficult to believe that many patrons out there have the same passion for this film that he does. For comprehensive film collections. Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Free Libs., Salinas, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • File Size: 1118 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 031227453X
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Publication Date: February 4, 2003
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009SJD4W0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,708 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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