Sunset Boulevard is a multi award winning 1950 melodrama which turns the camera on Hollywood and tells the story of a faded silent movie star’s relationship with an ambitious but unsuccessful young writer. Nominated for eleven Oscars it is often regarded as one of the greatest films ever made and appears on numerous Top 10 lists. In 1989 it was selected as one of the first films to be preserved in the National Film Registry and today, over sixty years after its release it continues to stand up thanks to its excellent writing, direction, performances and Noir sensibility.
Joe Gills (William Holden) is a struggling writer in search of a job. He has little success and with debt collectors on his tail he drives into the seemingly abandoned driveway of an old Sunset Boulevard mansion. He soon discovers that the decrepit house is in fact occupied by a former movie star called Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and her mysterious butler Max (Erich von Stroheim). After initially being mistaken for an undertaker, Joe announces himself as a screenwriter and the former star puts him to work rewriting her screenplay with the hope that it will rekindle her career. Desmond, it soon turns out, is living in a delusion and cannot grasp that her time has been and gone while Joe uses his time in the house to further his career.