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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.
Direct download: OOTP_2006_04_15_SB.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 4:00 AM
Comments[5]

  • Hi Nick, Please email Shannon or I at clute@noircast.net or edwards@noircast.net to reach us. Somehow your email address didn\'t come through with your comment. Regarding THE MAN WHO WASN\'T THERE, Shannon and I have both seen it, and we both like the film, but we have decided that since we have already had a podcast on the BIG LEBOWSKI, a podcast on another Coen Brothers film will have to wait for a while. Thanks for listening! Best, Richard Edwards Co-host, Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir

    posted by: Richard Edwards on 2006-06-06 03:12:00

  • This is the first episode I have listened to and I enjoyed it very much. I was wondering if you had seen MAN WHO WASN\'T THERE written and directed by Joel and Ethen Coen. It is one of my favorite Noirs and I would love to hear what you guys have to say about it. I would also Like to share some of my Ideas with you. I am a 16 year old high school student and I would love to hear back from you. please E-mail me back

    posted by: Nick James on 2006-05-26 17:46:00

  • I picked up your pod casts of itunes. I have really enjoyed them. However, I do have a correction to your Sunset Blvd. review. I think that Mr. Edwards stated that Best Years of Our Lives won Best Picture Oscar in 1949. It was actually released in 1946. Keep up the good work! Shannon in SC

    posted by: Shannon Bates Willis on 2006-05-31 09:40:00

  • Hi Shannon, I did get the date wrong. Best Years of Our Lives, which as you correctly note was released in 1946, received the Oscar for Best Picture in 1947 (not 1949 as I state in the podcast). Thanks for drawing my attention to this erratum, and thanks for listening. Best, Richard Edwards Co-host, Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir

    posted by: Richard Edwards on 2006-06-06 02:41:00

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