Analysis on Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard (1950) is a drama/comedy that has its settings in Boulevard that are located between Beverly Hills and Los Angeles in California. The drama was well composed, and it remains one of the widely watched comedies globally. It exclusively portrays a flashback episode on various events relating to Joe’s life. Notably, the drama revolves around a man by the name “Joe” who is found dead in a swimming pool at his house. His death is depicted at the beginning of the movie. The lead actors in the movie include Joseph Gillis, who is also known as “Joe” and Norma Desmond. Just after the introduction of the movie, there is a flashback accounting for the death of Joe including the possible cause. The movie then progresses with the events that took place around six months before the occurrence of Joe’s death accounting and giving details of what transpired that led to Joe’s sudden death. At the end of the movie, the flashback ends, and reporters including police officers are seen wondering around the scene of incident looking for evidence. This paper gives detailed analysis of the movie titled “Sunset Boulevard (1950)”. It covers details about its design, script writing quality, setting, casting and production.
It is inevitably justifiable that the major elements of the film that include lighting, costumes, setting, and design among others support it categorization as a film noir.
Analysis of the movie
The setting in which the movie was shot defines quality and nature of its message from the outset. The setting prepares the mind of the audience that the film is one of the darkest film noirs. In particular, the film was shot in an environment located between Beverly Hills and Los Angeles in California that is associated with dark undertakings. The setting has helped in portraying its major theme and the American tradition in the 20th century. The classy environment of Joe Gillis and Norma Desmond is well depicted with both actors dressed in attires that depict their lavish lifestyle and love for wealth. Every scene is perfectly situated to give out a detailed picture of the current situation in which the characters are in. For example, the arrangement of reporters and police officers in the crime scene where Joe’s corpse was found floating on the swimming pool creates a realistic setting for a real crime scene. This gives the audience a crime mood and a good mental crime picture, making the movie be mind-capturing and interesting. The setting of the movie is perfect and on-point.
Production and direction of the movie
The production of the movie is very satisfying as it provides a satisfactory chronology of the activities at the crime scene. Billy Wilder, the director, portrayed his excellent directing skills throughout the movie. For instance, at the beginning of the movie when the body of Joe was found floating on the swimming pool, the director had to think deeply on how to portray the dead man. How he captured the corpse of Joe to be floating on the swimming pool and giving a marvelous shot of the police officers around the swimming pool interrogating the crime scene portrayed excellent shooting skills. The quality of the production or capturing of the police deliberations, activities and Joe’s body helps individuals to understand how the story unfolded. The production style also portrays the film noir in diverse contexts. This is based on the tone, the weapons covered, the kind of arguments under focus and the horrible pictures covered. The production alone enables those watching the film to understand its nature and them in prior.
The script of the movie is also superb. The writer of the script portrayed excellent skills where produced a script with different combined elements such as satire, flashback, comedy, drama, and suspense. The script is also less offensive as it portrays a less vulgar environment with the vulgar language being minimal which makes the movie to be appropriate to the audience of above 15 years. The script also has an excellent flow and an unpredictable plot giving the movie a lot of suspense that makes it even more interesting. However, the script also has some flaws in which some of the responses that the actors gave in the film were unrealistic such as Norma Desmond’s comments when she finds out the death of Joe.
The cast crew of a film is an imperative aspect of the film as it depicts the realness of the film with the actors’ abilities to portray the intended characters. In this particular film, the cast crew is excellent as the characters portrayed their roles very well. The characters also pleasantly depicted the themes of the movie making it interesting and attractive despite its noir nature. For instance, Norma Desmond is given the character of the lead actor role where she is used to manipulating Joe due to her beauty and attractiveness. Her talent and extravagant lifestyle clearly portray the dark perception on how women can be so manipulative due to their looks. Norma takes advantage of her beauty and completely manipulates Joe contrary to his wishes. Her manipulative nature can be attributable to dark practices that are evident in Los Angelo’s where beautiful women manipulate and con the rich. Joe, the leading actor in the film, also clearly depicts the character of a successful, but weak persona who is easily manipulated despite being wealthy. Each actor in the film totally and concisely depicts the character that he/she was meant to portray.
Lighting, cinematography, and design
The black and white color of the film is an excellent portrayal of the noir theme of the film thereby enables it to appear real. The dark and shadowy part of the film is also well portrayed with the effect creating a suitable mood for the audience to anticipate the environment of the 1950s. The director of the film can be said to have a vast experience in cinematography, giving the film several fine shots making the film even more interesting.
The scene of Joe’s corpse portrays excellent skills of cinematography in the movie. The standard of cinematography used in capturing the floating corpse and the activities of the police officers including other participants depicts the criminal aspect of the movie. This is evident based on the kind of damage on the corpse, the type of weapons the police have and the conversations. In the film, one of the police officers was heard saying, “This was a real brutal act.”
Also, the lighting in the film is very well used. The director used all the three lighting skills; low-key lighting, high-key lighting, and three-point lighting techniques enhance the visual of the film. The different lighting intensities were used where appropriate to help in conveying the appropriate message. For instance, during dark times or when criminal acts are undertaken including coverage of the crime scene, a low-key light was adopted. The lighting intensity was used extensively in the film. This shows its origin and the message that it conveys that revolves around crime. The film has an great overall lighting where the characters can be seen even in the dark scenes. The film has dark episodes that are not left behind with the background light highlighting the characters that are easily identified. Other conspicuous aspects are the colors of the environment that are mostly bright to improve the brightness of the film. For example, the walls of Joe’s house are painted cream, and this had a huge impact to the lighting of the film in the house episode especially in the dark episodes. The overall lighting of the film was satisfying for a 1950 film and in support of its theme. The variation of the lighting helped in communicating dark encounters associated with crime while bright colors assisted in highlighting light moments in all the episodes
Props and costumes
The other most conspicuous aspect of the movie is the props, costumes, and costumes used in producing the film. Since the movie was for the 1950s, the props and the costumes of the film were supposed to be of the mid-20th century, and that did not disappoint. The director, Billy Wilder used props that clearly depict the environment of the 1950s, and this is quite evident in the environment of Joe’s house and the entire environment in which the film was shot. For instance, when Norma picks up the telephone when she received the news about the sudden death of Joe, the telephone was an old-type that could be related with the telephones that were used in the 1950s. This portrays the tradition of the old America where telephones were a preserve of the rich. The costumes of the characters in the film were also outstanding in the way they portrayed the characters. Joe, who was successful and rich, wore expensive clothes depicting his richness. On the other hand, Norma who loved her beauty and extravagant life style wore a beautiful dress with expensive jewelry to give out her character. The overall props and costumes of the film were portrayed nicely thereby giving out the intended picture of the characters who participated in the film.
It is imperative to note that different aspects of the film contributed to the overall outcome of the film and depiction of its film noir nature. As discussed above, the lighting aspect of the film as well depicted had a great impact on the mood of the audience. The brightness of the film gives the audience a good mood and makes the audience not to strain their eyes while watching. However, the low light that characterized the larger part of the film makes people understand its theme and criminal nature from the preamble stages. Likewise, props and costumes of the film are well represented with the props displaying the character of each character in the film. This enables viewers to know the roles played by each actor. The film’s cinematography also helps in portraying the criminal aspect that forms the story line in its content. For instance, the skillful coverage and presentation of the floating corpse and actions of law enforcement agencies including reactions from various quarters about the killing of Joe support its criminal theme. Based on the above analysis, it can be concluded that despite its flaws, the “Sunset Boulevard (1950)” is a top class film with top-notch elements in every aspect of the film. Each aspect of the movie was represented well, and the overall outcome of the movie was outstanding.
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