Tuesday, 25 May 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 252

63 - Sunset Boulevard - 5 stars
One of the truly great stories by Hollywood about Hollywood.
A struggling writer falls under the wing of a fading silent movie star desperate to make a return to the big screen.
"Hey, you're Norma Desmond. You used to be big."
"I AM big, its the picture that got small."
A critique on how quickly Hollywood can forget the people that made them money, it is a fate that befalls many leading ladies... with the exception of Meryl Streep who will remain a huge star until the end of time.
William Holden's Joe Gillis is initaly taken in by the glamourous lifestyle and money that working for Desmond offers but soon comes to realise that she wants him as a romantic companion.
His relationship with a fellow studio writer causes Norma's denil and jealousy to spiral out of control, ending in murder and her "close up Mr DeMille".
Might have been the first film to have a dead character narrate the story to the audience. Am I wrong?

357 - The Long Goodbye - 2 stars
For me there was something 'slightly off' about Altman's contemporary (for the seventies) update of Raymond Chandler with Elliot Gould taking over from Humphrey Bogart as private detective Philip Marlowe.
I think the problem for me is the ending. Don't worry I won't spoil it, but I felt that Marlowe's actions here were inconsistent with his rather carefree and lackadaisical attitude during the rest of the film.
It did have two moments worthy of mention, one comic and one horrific.
The security guard's impressions of celebrities are pretty good, especially his Walter Brennan.
In a chilling moment a gangster smashes a coke bottle into his girlfriend's face just to prove a point to Marlowe. "Now that's someone I love. You I don't even like. Find my money"

Days remaining - 113 Films remaining - 137

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