* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: 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.
* AwardSnub: Painfully. Gloria Swanson lost the Best Actress Oscar only because Creator/BetteDavis in ''Film/AllAboutEve'' 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 Creator/JudyHolliday winning for ''Theatre/BornYesterday''.
* DoubleStandard: Gee, one can't help but notice that Creator/CecilBDeMille is still working..
** He has evolved along with the medium. Norma, meanwhile, wants to pick up where she left off, making a new picture in a style that died twenty-five years ago, in which she plays a sixteen-year-old. She also is attempting to make a film with minimal amounts of dialog, unable to accept that silent films aren't around anymore.
** 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 Creator/RitaHayworth) 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.
** Creator/BusterKeaton's appearance as one of the forgotten actors; now that he's arguably better-remembered than anyone else in the cast.
* ItWasHisSled: Almost inevitable in such a famous film from so long ago.
* MemeticMutation: "I ''am'' big. It's the pictures that got small" and "Alright Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my closeup".
* TheWoobie: By the end... everyone. But Max in particular has had a life of this.