SUNSET BOULEVARD 1956 MASTERS IN ART AND CLAY 1964
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SUNSET BOULEVARD (1956) Starring Mary Astor, Darren McGavin, Gloria DeHaven and John Griggs. Introduced by Robert Montgomery. This ultra-rare TV adaptation of the famous Hollywood fable was originally aired live as part of the "Robert Montgomery Presents" anthology series on NBC. Aging former silent movie queen, Norma Desmond, is a conniving, needy woman who ensnares a young screenwriter (Joe Gillis - played by McGavin) and keeps him a virtual prisoner in her creepy old Hollywood mansion. Unfortunately, Norma is also very jealous and on the verge of madness. When Gillis finally asserts his independence, the results are deadly. This rendition is a true find. The acting is superb and it compares very favorably with Billy Wilder's classic big screen version of 1950.
Digitally mastered from an original 16mm Kinescope
MASTERS IN ART AND CLAY (1964) Starring John Griggs and Jack Gilford. John Griggs (who portrays Sheldrake in our "Sunset Boulevard", but will be best remembered as Ralph Kramden's boss on "The Honemooners") takes us on a color tour of England's Spode china works. We learn how Spode fine China and dinnerware have been made since the company was founded in 1767.
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It's the story of a young man who falls under the control of an aging former silent-era starlet. When she realizes that Joe Gillis (Holden) is a screenwriter, Norma Desmond (Swanson) asks him to polish the script for her imagined "comeback" movie. Along the way, he becomes financially dependent on the older lady, who quickly falls in love with him. On New Year's Eve Gillis rejects Desmond's advances, eventually gets involved with another woman and tragedy ensues.
Erich von Stroheim is excellent as Miss Desmond's butler. The supporting cast also includes Cecil B. DeMille (as himself); he directed Miss Swanson in several silent features, starting with 1919's "Don't Change Your Husband." Gossip columnist Hedda Hopper portrays herself, as well. Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner and Anna Q. Nilsson have bridge-playing cameos.
Also directed by Billy Wilder, DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edw. G. Robinson, is another superlative example of the film noir genre. (VHS edition)
Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.
(8.7) Sunset Boulevard (1950) - William Holden/Gloria Swanson/Erich von Stroheim/Nancy Olson/Fred Clark/Jack Webb/Cecil B. DeMille/Hedda Hopper/Buster Keaton/H. B. Warner/Anna Q. Nilsson/Ray Evans/Jay Livingston/Henry Wilcoxon
This movie is timeless. It's a slam at Hollywood & what gets done to actors once they are used up & spit out.
Gloria Swanson is fantastic, blending beauty, creepiness, & madness all into one. Holden is marvelous as a down on his luck writer who becomes a "kept man".
Carol Burnett did hilarious skits about Sunset Boulevard.
Damn, they just don't make movies like they used to.