Close-up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream [NOOK Book]

Overview

Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, a classic film noir and also a damning dissection of the Hollywood dream factory, evokes the glamour and ruin of the stars who subsist on that dream. It's also one long in-joke about the movie industry and those who made it great-and who were, in turn, destroyed by it. One of the most critically admired films of the twentieth century, Sunset Boulevard is also famous as silent star Gloria Swanson's comeback picture.


Close-Up On Sunset Boulevard ...

See more details below
Close-up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, a classic film noir and also a damning dissection of the Hollywood dream factory, evokes the glamour and ruin of the stars who subsist on that dream. It's also one long in-joke about the movie industry and those who made it great-and who were, in turn, destroyed by it. One of the most critically admired films of the twentieth century, Sunset Boulevard is also famous as silent star Gloria Swanson's comeback picture.


Close-Up On Sunset Boulevard tells the story of this extravagant work, from the writing, casting and filming to the disastrous previews that made Paramount consider shelving it. It's about the writing team of Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett-sardonically called "the happiest couple in Hollywood"-and their raucous professional relationship. It's about the art direction and the sets, the costumes, the props, the lights and the cameras, and the personalities who used those tools to create a cinematic work of art.


Staggs goes behind the scenes to reveal: William Holden, endlessly attacked by his bitter wife and already drinking too much; Nancy Olson, the cheerful ingenue who had never heard of the great Gloria Swanson; the dark genius Erich von Stroheim; the once famous but long-forgotten "Waxworks"; and of course Swanson herself, who-just like Norma Desmond-had once been "the greatest star of them all."


But the story of Sunset Boulevard doesn't end with the movie's success and acclaim at its release in l950. There's much more, and Staggs layers this stylish book with fascinating detail, following the actors and Wilder into their post-Sunset careers and revealing Gloria Swanson's never-ending struggle to free herself from the clutches of Norma Desmond.


Close-Up On Sunset Boulevard also chronicles the making of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical production of Sunset Boulevard and the explosive diva controversies that dogged it. The book ends with a shocking example of Hollywood life imitating Hollywood art. By the last page of this rich narrative, readers will conclude: We are those "wonderful people out there in the dark."

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466830462
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 2/4/2003
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 633,246
  • File size: 548 KB

Meet the Author

Sam Staggs

Sam Staggs is the author of the acclaimed All About All About Eve and a novel, MMII: The Return of Marilyn Monroe. He lives in Dallas, Texas.


SAM STAGGS is the author of five books, including four biographies of movies: All About All About Eve, Close-Up on Sunset Boulevard, When Blanche Met Brando, and Born to be Hurt. He has written for publications including Vanity Fair and Architectural Digest. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Voice-Over, 1948 1
1. A La Recherche de Norma Desmond 4
2. When Queens Collide 11
3. The Happiest Couple in Hollywood 15
4. Chaz 37
5. Who Is Gloria Swanson? 47
6. "The Cameras Have Arrived" 71
7. The Bedroom of Norma Desmond 82
8. That's Why the Lady Has a Chimp 95
9. "Ten Thousand Midnights Ago" 101
10. "All Right, Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready for My Close-up" 118
11. Chiffon, Velvet, Chinchilla, Tulle, Brocade, Taffeta, Ermine, and Leopard-Printed Crepe 126
12. If It's a Paramount Picture, It's the Best Show in Town 136
13. Fiasco 148
14. The Whole Audience Stood Up and Cheered 154
15. And the Winner Isn't Gloria Swanson 173
16. I've Got Nobody Floating in My Pool 188
17. Boulevard! 202
18. "Funny How Gentle People Get with You Once You're Dead" 224
19. Popcorn in Beverly Hills with Nancy 232
20. "Buttons and Bows" 246
21. Men in Uniform 252
22. "We'll Make Another Picture, and Another Picture" 274
23. Sunset Cul-de-sac 295
24. Life Upon the Wicked Stage 303
25. Fifteen Minutes of Close-ups 309
26. A Dethroned Queen 316
27. If They Put All the Norma Desmonds on an Island, Which One Would Survive? 354
28. Billy Wilder from Noir to Blackout 363
29. Lux Perpetua 374
Acknowledgments 381
Selected Bibliography 385
Notes 389
Index 407
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2004

    Outstanding book!

    Quite simply, Sam Staggs IS big ... it's the authors who got small. This was my second read by Mr. Staggs, and it even surpassed his astoundingly entertaining 'All About 'All About Eve''. This book gives an inside view of the production of 'Sunset Boulevard' from the infancy of the film's production, through it's many incarnations on stage and screen, and into it's influence on film even today. Again I was riveted by Mr. Staggs' writing style and tireless research. I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of the film, it's stars, or the glory days of the Hollywood studio system. But be warned: You'll get little done until you're finished with this book. I went to sleep with it, and woke up with it. A MUST read for any Swanson, Holden, or Wilder fan!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2005

    Should have been better

    At some points, the analysis is either over-simplified or just plain labored. I also found factual errors . . . this always raises my hackles!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)