Sunset Boulevard (Centennial Collection)
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Also highly notable are the featurettes "Stories of Sunset Boulevard" and "Sunset Boulevard Becomes a Classic," because of their mixture of interviews with actors (Nancy Olson as "Betty Schaefer"), critics (Andrew Sarris), and Wilders biographer, Ed Sikov. "Stories" opens with the facts surrounding the films original opening and its cut script, namely the morgue scene in which the corpses speak to each other. It then proceeds to describe how the opening scene we know and love, namely Joe Gillis floating face down in the swimming pool, was made before waterproof cameras were the norm. Ed Sikovs commentary during the screening of the film, as well, is rich with details about Wilders directorial efforts. These insider notes and educational feauturettes inspire one to consider just how much consciously planned construction goes into a film that screens as a flawless story. --Trinie Dalton
Top Customer Reviews
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
We thoroughly enjoyed this film. The acting is superb and the story entertaining. Even though the story begins with the end (the death of protagonist Joe Gillis) I was a bit... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Doug Erlandson
I am a huge fan of Sunset Boulevard! This is my favorite Billy Wilder film by far. Gloria Swanson is the standout of course. You already like the film or you wouldn't be here. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Lt. Frank Bullitt
This movie was just as good as I remembered it. Proof that truly great movies never die.Published 17 days ago by Kim Zufall
Absolutely beautiful collector edition of this remarkable film! The picture and sound are sharp and clear. The bonus features are especially enjoyable. Read morePublished 17 days ago by M.C. Shopper
A fabulous movie with great moments! It shows us the eerie world of a forgotten star and her sad grasps at love and sanity.Published 28 days ago by Linda A. Neugebauer
A stunning movie, it doesn't get any better than this. Gloria Swanson is unreal !!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer