Sat, 15 April 2006
The most famous texts of any canon are rarely the most typical; rather, they push the limits. The fame of Billy Wilder's 1950 masterwork "Sunset Boulevard" is of this problematic sort. The film plays on all the usual themes of noir: mysterious deaths; a male protagonist doomed by a single bad decision; a femme fatale who twists his hopes to resemble her own, and slowly trims away his universe until she is the sole star guiding his fateful journey. But these themes are absurdly exaggerated. The first death is of a pet monkey. The narrator is telling his story from beyond the grave. The female star has imploded under her own gravity, and becomes something of a tragicomic black hole that pulls in the entire constellation of poor players. More than noir, the film is a self-conscious staging of the crime that is Hollywood. This podcast is brought to you by Clute and Edwards of www.noircast.net. To leave a comment on this episode, or make a donation to the podcast, please visit "Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir" at outofthepast.libsyn.com.