Sunset Blvd.: Joe–he lied to Betty, he lied to Norma, he lied to himself–he never would have gone back to Dayton, Ohio. The actress wanted a comeback–and she got it. Max got one last chance to direct. Joe and Betty would have been happy together–poor, but happy. Gloria Swanson plays a character heavily based on Mary Pickford. Cecil B. DeMille plays himself. Gloria, I think, really does get to do a comeback picture. She looks like a mixture of Mary Pickford and Bette Davis. She had Joseph P. Kennedy, father of John F. Kennedy, as a lover. Joe financed her 1929 movie Queen Kelly, which was directed by Erich Von Stroheim. It was Stroheim’s copy of Queen Kelly that they were watching in the movie Sunset Blvd.
The movie title is an abbreviation. Blvd.
In 1950, Betty was twenty-two. Norma was fifty. I don’t know how old Joe was supposed to be–thirty-something, probably. Fifty, of course, don’t seem that old.
Life is an abbreviation.
I am in a similar situation, I think, at work, in that I am in a mainframe sort of group, converting to server. The mainframe guys don’t care for server.
Mary Pickford, who I think Norma Desmond was in at least part based, turned down that role for Sunset Blvd. It wasn’t that she couldn’t make the transition to sound; rather, her persona was that of a little girl, and she simply grew up.