Sunset Clevard Film Analysis

444 Words 2 Pages
Even though film experts still debate what genre it best falls into, the 1950 Billy Wilder-directed film Sunset Boulevard is, in many respects, the archetypal film noir, and is also widely regarded as one of the most brutally honest depictions of Hollywood, by Hollywood. One of the biggest reasons Wilder’s film is viewed as such an exemplar of the film noir movement is its innovative use of lighting effects. Use of lighting can make or break a black-and-white film much more than it can one in color. Because color isn’t a factor, lighting is the only distinguishing factor between the oft-meager light and the dark. (Terry) Wilder knew this, and he used available light (i.e. light that occurs in the in-film environment and isn’t just put there by the production crew) to the best possible effect, such as in the examples described here. A prime example of how dark Sunset Boulevard can be, both literally, and figuratively, is the scene where the faded silent-film star herself, Norma Desmond, meets with director Cecil B. DeMille at Paramount Studios. Norma is promptly recognized by some of the more …show more content…
She is persuaded to come quietly under the guise of filming her new movie’s climactic scene, so there are naturally a lot of studio lights on the scene. Wilder used the abundance of light to his advantage, with the lights in the background, contrasted against Norma’s head, contributing to the lingering sense of unease. There is also a very soft aspect to the picture, which could be taken to represent Norma’s own insane view that all this attention (from homicide investigators) can only be good for her own career prospects. The shot is also very slightly out of focus, which increases as Norma advances on the camera in the last few seconds, which further cements Norma’s loss of any grasp on reality.

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