Trivia / Sunset Boulevard

  • Actor Allusion: In the musical— Glenn Close portrays a lonely troubled woman slowly driven to insanity due to her unhealthy obsession with a man. Eventually she's pushed over the edge and goes on a murderous rampage... But enough about Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: People often misquote this movie's famous line as "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille."
  • Beta Outfit: The outfit for when Norma traveled to the studio still included a white ermine hat, but it was like a head scarf. Swanson suggested a hat more fitting the style of The Roaring Twenties.
  • Creator Backlash: Erich von Stroheim complained that he was always identified with "that butler role" rather than anything else he directed or starred in.
  • Cut Song: "The Paramount Don't Want Me Blues"
  • Executive Meddling: Probably for the better. The original cut of the film involved Joe Gillis's corpse talking to other corpses in the morgue, which made test audiences laugh uproariously. All that survives of this early opening consists of script pages and some silent footage of morticians transporting and storing the corpse.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Artie Green is none other than Sgt. Joe Friday!
  • Reality Subtext: Norma is played by Gloria Swanson, who was a silent film star, and worked with Cecil B. DeMille. Max is played by Erich von Stroheim, who was a silent film director.
    • The movie that Norma and Joe watch together was comprised of footage of from Troubled Production Queen Kelly (1929) - directed by none other than Erich von Stroheim.
    • And Cecil B DeMille referred to Swanson as "young fella" when both were getting started in Hollywood.
    • The Waxworks, of course, were real former Hollywood stars then considered has-beens, including Buster Keaton.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Gloria Swanson was worlds more stable and down-to-earth than Norma Desmond. Very notably, Swanson handled her change of fortune much better than Desmond: When it became apparent that her film career was over (at least in any roles besides a White-Dwarf Starlet) she focused more on her theatre and television prospects, which, while nothing earth-shattering, were fairly successful and kept her in the public eye.
  • Those Two Actors: After the success of the film, this was attempted with William Holden and Nancy Olson; they appeared in three further films together, but none of them was really successful.
  • Type Casting: Filmmakers just rehashed Norma whenever they wanted to give Gloria a part in a film after that, and some people still confused Swanson with Desmond.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Several other old-time actresses were considered for the role of Norma Desmond, including Pola Negri, Mary Pickford, and even Mae West. Montgomery Clift was originally cast as Joe Gillis, but pulled out - reputedly because he himself was dating a much older (and arguably washed up) singer at the time.
    • Stephen Sondheim began work on a musical version, before the release of Andrew Lloyd Webber's play. He abandoned the project due to Billy Wilder saying that he'd prefer a Sunset Boulevard opera to a musical.
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