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Posts Tagged ‘Drama’

Sunset Boulevard

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I don’t like using the word-perfect that often, because perfect is almost never seen and heard of, but Sunset Boulevard along with North by Northwest, is about as close to a perfect movie as anyone could ever see.

Great plot about a young almost wannabe screenwriter who at this point is desperate for work, so he can make his car payment. Whose on the run from repossessors and stops off at what he believes is an abandoned house only to discover that one of the top actress’s ever in Hollywood lives there. Which is how Joe Gillis (played by William Holden) meets Norma Desmond, (played by Gloria Swanson) otherwise they probably never meet each other. Joe Gillis, is considering giving up Hollywood and going back to Ohio and getting a blue-collar job. Norma Desmond, hasn’t worked in a while and the Hollywood studios no longer want her.

Norma Desmond, finds out that Joe Gillis is a Hollywood writer, struggling at that and owes three months back rent on his apartment, as well as a car he can’t afford. She knows he needs money, which is what she has plenty of and needs a job, which she has one for him. She’s not working now as an actress and doesn’t have any roles coming her way and decides to write her own script and get back into movies that way. And hires Joe to be his proofreader and to fix up her script so someone would take it and make a movie from it. Joe, is not impressed with the script so far, but believes he can work with it. Still has friends in Hollywood and has one his friends Betty Schaefer (played by Nancy Olson) help him rewrite the script and they work on it together.

Norma Desmond, is lonely and desperate to get back into movies and doesn’t want to live off her royalties and investments. She wants Joe to perhaps help her get back into the movies, but what I at least believe she’s looking for is male companionship and believes her script will get her back into movies. I don’t think it is ever clear that she thinks Joe Gillis, someone who she’s never heard of who can’t afford either his apartment or car and hasn’t worked in a while, is a talented writer and someone who has a future in Hollywood. Joe, needs a job obviously as well as money and I see them as basically using each other to meet their short-term interests. I don’t see them as a writing team that is going to write their own movie together.

Gloria Swanson, has just turned 50 at this point and so has her character in Sunset Boulevard. But Hollywood already sees her has washed up and way past her prime. Gives you an idea of how Hollywood sees the world different at least in the 1940s and 1950s than the rest of us. And in many ways this movie is pretty sad, because it shows how Hollywood treats its stars once they believe they no longer have any use for them and almost treat them like strangers and as people they don’t want to be seen with anymore. Gloria Swanson, is her beautiful and brilliant self now playing someone who s past her prime, but as an actress she still has everything going for her and is still the star of the movie. Bill Holden, is his usual charming and even funny self who mixes in clever humor in a very serious if not dark and depressing, but a great movie.
Paramount Movies: Sunset Blvd. 1950 Trailer

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Mike Connors, Joey Heatherton, Susan Hayward

Mike Connors, Joey Heatherton, Susan Hayward

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I haven’t thought about this, until I just read it, but if you’re familiar with the great Lana Turner, (as an actress and goddess) and you’re familiar with Where Love Has Gone from 1964, the story about Valerie Hayden’s daughter Danielle Miller (played by Joey Heatherton) who ends up killing her mother’s boyfriend, is very similar to Lana’s daughter Cheryl Krane, who ends up killing her mother’s boyfriend Johnny Stompanato. The Stompanato killing, happened in real-life and both killings happened when the killer’s mother is involved in a dispute with their boyfriend. I’m not an expert on Lana Turner, most of what I’ve learned about her has been in the last two years. But she lived a crazy life as if she was always drunk or something and didn’t know what the hell she was doing. Valerie Hayden, (played by the great Susan Hayward) lives a similar life as Lana in this movie.

As far as this movie. Great movie! It is very dramatic, if not traumatic when you’re talking about a family that is led by a very overprotective mother, (played by Bette Davis) who is always making moves regarding her daughter’s life and makes those moves on her behalf and rarely if ever consults her daughter about what she’s doing for her. And as a result her daughter even though she’s this gorgeous, baby-faced adorable, sexy, intelligent, talented women, ends up being somewhat immature and irresponsible. Because her mother has a lot of control over her own life. She meets World War II U.S. Army hero Luke Miller played by Mike Connors and falls in love with and perhaps hoping she can find some independence from her mother. They get married, but now Mrs. Hayden, (played by Bette Davis) wants to control her daughter and her new son-in law. And has him blacklisted so he has no other choice, but to work for her company.

Again, this is a very dramatic if not traumatic movie and yet its pretty funny as well. And maybe that just because of Susan Hayward, who had this Liz Taylor quality of being able to combine drama, with comedy and humor. Who plays a very adorable and immature irresponsible women, who goes too far, because now she’s married to man who has just gotten out of the U.S. Army and fought in World War II. Whose use to giving orders, not taking them. Who doesn’t have any patience for the games and soap opera tactics of her wife and mother in law. This was never a relationship that was designed to work out. The Miller’s, get divorced, Luke is out of the picture and has no input with how his daughter is raised and Valerie (played by Susan Hayward) finds a new man before she dumps her husband and that is how her boyfriend gets killed. Because she has a fight with him with her daughter stepping in to end the fight and kills her mother’s boyfriend.

I think Where Love Has Gone, is also a very entertaining and funny movie, especially if you’re familiar with life of Lana Turner, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. Gorgeous, adorable, talented and yet immature and irresponsible women. Whose always involved with the wrong man while having young daughter to take care of. In Lana’s case, Italian gangster Johnny Stompanato. Valerie, gets involved with a man after Luke Miller, who isn’t a good man and he ends up being killed by her daughter. Luke Miller, by most accounts is a good man, but he only gets back in his daughter’s life after she’s charged with her murder of her mother’s boyfriend. This movie looks like a great soap opera. With a lot of great drama, writing, acting and humor, which all great soap operas have and I’m a big fan of it.
Paramount Pictures: Where Love Has Gone 1964- Susan Hayward & Mike Connors

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