This week’s installment in the “Ethical Dilemmas on Film” Series at the State Theatre is the 1950 film noir classic Sunset Boulevard. Here are some things to consider as you reflect on the film:
Many critics consider Sunset Blvd. to be the best Hollywood film about Hollywood. What does the film have to tell us about Hollywood?
Billy Wilder was a European ï¿½migrï¿½ who knew barely any English when he arrived in the States. Is Wilder’s status as a foreigner/outsider evident in the film?
What elements of Joe’s narration indicate that he’s a screenwriter? Can we tell how good a screenwriter he is from his narration? Does he finally write that successful script?
Is Joe better as an actor than a writer?
Why is Norma writing a script about Salome?
Is it worth following up Joe’s reference to Great Expectations?
What is the significance of ghost writing?
How many plots are there in Sunset Blvd.? Who are the plotters? Who is the best plotter?
Why does Joe stay with Norma after New Year’s Eve?
For a film of its time, Sunset Blvd. relies very little on shot/counter-shot. How does Wilder tend to construct shots instead?
Consider the significance of these lines:
How does the film use diegetic and extra-diegetic music?
Is Joe’s narrative morally redemptive? Does Joe need to redeem himself?
Joe says that “life is strangely merciful” to Norma in the end – is the film?