Black SplatSunset Boulevard (1950)
   

"Poor dope. He always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool—only the price, turned out to be a little high."

Sunset Boulevard - Joe Gillis floating face down in a swimming pool

Description: William Holden as writer Joe Gillis who befriends former silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and gets himself murdered in the motion picture Sunset Boulevard (1950).

The “poor dope” dialog is actually coming from the deceased body of Joe Gillis who is now floating face down in Desmond’s swimming pool at the beginning of the movie.

Joe Gillis is a down on his luck screenplay writer. One day, as he tries to elude a creditor his car has a flat in front of a crumbling mansion owned by former silent screen star, Norma Desmond.

When Joe first recognizes Norma, he says, “You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.” Coming to her own defense, Norma counters, “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”

"There once was a time in this business when I had the eyes of the whole world! But that wasn't good enough for them, oh no! They had to have the ears of the whole world too. So they opened their big mouths and out came talk. Talk! TALK!"

Norma decide to hires Joe to write a screenplay which she believes will bring her back in to the big time. Within a short time, Joe moves into the mansion and becomes Norma's lover. But soon, Joe feels he is trapped in a relationship with a woman whose expectations of a comeback are futile.


Norma: Here, I was going to give it to you at midnight.
Joe: Norma, I can't take it, you've bought me enough.
Norma: Shut up, I'm rich! I'm richer than all this new Hollywood trash! I've got a million dollars.
Joe: Keep it.
Norma: Own three blocks downtown, I've got oil in Bakersfield, pumping, *pumping*, pumping! What's it for but to buy us anything we want!
Joe: Cut out that "US" business!
Norma: What's the matter with you?
Joe: What right do you have to take me for granted?
Norma: What right? Do you want me to tell you?
Joe: Has it ever occurred to you that I may have a life of my own? That there may be some girl I'm crazy about?
Norma: Who? Some car hop, or dress extra?
Joe Gillis: What I'm trying to say is that I'm all wrong for you. You want a Valentino, somebody with polo ponies, a big shot!
Norma: What you're trying to say is that you don't want me to love you. Say it. Say it! [slaps him hard across the face]

When ever Joe tries to leave Norma, she threatens suicide. During one of those times, Joe yells, “Oh, wake up, Norma, you’d be killing yourself to an empty house. The audience left twenty years ago.”

Escaping the mansion for a night on the town, Joe meets Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson), an aspiring scriptwriter who needs Joe's help. The two soon fall in love and Joe tells Norma Desmond he needs to leave the mansion for good.

As Joe prepares to escape Norma’s clutches, she says, “No one ever leaves a star. That’s what makes one a star.” In a jealous rage, Norma shoots Joe, and then waits for the police and reporters arrive.

As the deranged Desmond is taken into custody, she moves slowly through the crowd of people she believes to be her adoring public, and says:

Sunset Boulevard - Norma Desmond speaks to her public

“And I promise you I’ll never desert you again because after ‘Salome’ we’ll make another picture and another picture. This is my life. It always will be. There’s nothing else. Just us and the cameras and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

At end of the film, Joe, still floating in Norma Desmond's swimming, informs the audience:

“Well, this is where you came in, back at that pool again, the one I always wanted. It’s dawn now and they must have photographed me a thousand times. Then they got a couple of pruning hooks from the garden and fished me out...ever so gently. Funny, how gentle people get with you once you’re dead.”


Sunset Boulevard - Movie Poster

Sunset Boulevard - Movie Poster


 
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