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Sunset Boulevard (Special Collector's Edition)

4.8 out of 5 stars 607 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

The highlights of the Sunset Boulevard DVD are a standout transfer and three 2002 documentaries. In "Sunset Boulevard: A Look Back" (26 min.), author Ed Sikov, actress Nancy Olson (who played Betty Schaefer), critic Andrew Sarris, and producer A.C. Lyles discuss the perfect cast, the alternate opening, and various anecdotes. "Edith Head: The Paramount Years" (13 min.) and "Franz Waxman and the Music of Sunset Boulevard" (14.5 min.) provide retrospectives on the legendary costume designer and composer. Sikov, the author of On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder, also provides a very informative if rather dry commentary track. Other features include a map spotlighting the Hollywood locations in the film, photo galleries, and two versions of the script for the original morgue opening, one of which is supplemented with silent footage cut from the picture. --David Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Fully restored
  • "The Making of Sunset Boulevard" (includes interviews with Nancy Olson, Ed Sikov, film critic Andrew Sarris, Paramount producer A.C. Lyles, and Glenn Close)
  • Photo galleries
  • Hollywood location map
  • Script of the original morgue prologue
  • "The Music of Sunset Boulevard" featurette
  • "Edith Head: The Paramount Years" (documentary of the famed costume designer)

Product Details

  • Actors: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark
  • Directors: Billy Wilder
  • Writers: Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, D.M. Marshman Jr.
  • Producers: Charles Brackett
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Collector's Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: November 26, 2002
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (607 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXCW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,938 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sunset Boulevard (Special Collector's Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I first saw this film about a month ago expecting to see a campy, vampy classic the likes of which I hadn't seen since Mommie Dearest. Boy was I suprised! This film is not campy at all, it's a finely crafted work of art that fully engaged me in it's story of desperation. I was suprised by the richness and depth of characters all around, but espicailly by Norma Desmond. As over the top and outragous as Gloria Swanson is I never once didn't believe her. To achieve this level of believability and honesty from this character takes great craft. The story is dark and twisted with some new depth of character being revealed at the most suprising moments. Cinematography and lighting are astounding. I will never be able to forget the one close up shot of Norma on the movie set back lit by the sets lights. My breath was taken away and it was only one of many times.
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.
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Format: DVD
As a film critic says in one of the interviews on this splendid special edition, Billy Wilder not only had the craft, style and elegance we associate with classic Hollywood, he also had a biting wit that appeals to the sensibilities of today. This film has aged much better than it's central villian, the demented starlet portrayed to perfection by real-life demented starlet Gloria Swanson. William Holden's (literally) dead-pan narration as a two-bit screenwriter of B-movies is as sad and funny as it ever was.
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.
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Format: DVD
Billy Wilder is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers and SUNSET BOULEVARD is one of my all-time favorite films. As soon as I discovered it would be on DVD, I jumped at the opportunity and am so glad I did.
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This review is for the November 2008 Centennial release. This issue is a mixed bag. The picture is sharp, but the contrast is quite a bit darker. In some scenes the effect is very good and in quite a few other scenes, I found it a bit too dark. The November 2002 release was done with the services of Lowry Digital, the same service that did the recent James Bond restoration work with excellent results. Comparing the two, The 2002 release done by Lowry Digital was very good and didn't really need any improvement since there was very little if anything to improve. Rather than re-shuffling the same product over and over, it has been quite some time since Paramount has done anything new with their classic catalog. Paramount has not released new product from their classic catalog in years. For those of you who have the 2002 release, there is no need to buy the Centennial, so keep the current copy that you have.
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