YMMV / Sunset Boulevard

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Max's motivations are a bit more overtly ambiguous in the musical. In the film, when confronted by Joe about lying to Norma, he says "I cannot let her be destroyed". In the play, he says "I will not allow her to surrender". This hints that he's not merely feeding Norma flattering lies to keep her from breaking down, but maintaining his own vicarious fantasy through her.
  • Award Snub: Painfully. Gloria Swanson lost the Best Actress Oscar only because Bette Davis in All About Eve was her main competitor. Swanson and Davis cancelled each other out (as both were playing over-the-hill, sharp-tongued actresses in films about the anxieties of aging and acting), leaving newcomer Judy Holliday winning for Born Yesterday.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Norma Desmond's idea for her comeback vehicle - a Biblical epic about Salome - is regarded as laughably ridiculous by DeMille and the other Hollywood types. However, not only was an actual mind-bogglingly awful Salome film (starring Rita Hayworth) produced in 1953, but numerous filmmakers throughout the rest of the '50s (including DeMille himself) would turn to Biblical epics as a way of competing with the television audience, and some of these efforts turned out to be every bit as schlocky as Norma's. Furthermore, DeMille's current production when Norma pitches her script is Samson and Delilah, which was a critical and commercial success. Norma's script was bad, and she was out of touch with contemporary styles, but her selection of genre was appropriate, even slightly progressive.
    • Buster Keaton's appearance as one of the forgotten actors; now that he's arguably better-remembered than anyone else in the cast.
  • It Was His Sled: Almost inevitable in such a famous film from so long ago.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I am big. It's the pictures that got small" and "Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup".
  • The Woobie: By the end... everyone. But Max in particular has had a life of this.