Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sunset Boulevard

Author: Alex
Location: Washington State

"Sunset Boulevard"

Directed by Rob Marshall
Apapted to the screen by Bil Condon
Music by Andrew Loyd Webber

Principal Cast:

Patti LuPone (Norma Desmond)
Ewan McGregor (Joe Gills)
Toni Collette (Betty Schaefer)
Michael Crawford (Max von Mayerling)
Hugh Jackman (Artie Green)
Mandy Patinkin (Cecile B. DeMille)

Tagline: "I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille..."

Synopsis: Andrew Lloyd Webber & Alan Parker's terrifying valentine to Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, features one of the most indelible of all screen performances: Patti LuPone as Norma Desmond. Norma, the aging silent-movie star who ensnares down-at-the-heels screenwriter Joe Gillis (Ewan McGregor), is the vamp become vampire. In many ways a horror film -- with the broken-down mansion, the wind playing through the organ pipes, the dead monkey, even Norma herself -- Sunset Boulevard is also an essay about Hollywood and its discontents. If Norma is warped (and she is), the warping Hollywood culture of ego, vanity, and delusion is at least partially to blame. Anothercasualty is Max von Mayerling, Norma's servant (previously her director and husband), played to self-lacerating perfection by Michael Crawford. Though the movie critiques the excesses of Hollywood's silent era, it also reinvigorates the myth of that time. Stars did have faces then
-- and magical names. Compared to the workaday Hollywood of the film's present tense, the glamour conjured by Norma's mere mention of Valentino is potent indeed.

What the press would say:

Since Sunset Boulevard (the original) is one of my favorite films, I bought the London cast album long before the musical came to America. Patti LuPone is the ultimate Broadway star, having created the role of Evita. Her soaring versions of "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "With One Look" are unmatched. Her power and vocal range soar! Though it was a daring move to pull Glenn Close (who did the Broadway production), all of Norma's songs had to be drastically reduced in vocal range to accommodate Close's lack
of, or nonexistent, singing ability. In fact, the London Recording was unavailable to the American market during the American run of the musical and was literally pulled from the shelves. Perhaps Webber didn't want the American audience to hear the masterwork of this production. But with Patti back we once again have greatness playing Norma. Ewan McGregor portrays Joe Gillis with more guts and passion than anyone ever could have imagined. For lovers of contemporary musicals, this is perfect.

Best Picture
Best Director: Parker
Best Actress: LuPone
Best Actor: McGregor
Best Supporting Actress: Collette
Best Supporting Actor: Crawford
Best Supporting Actor: Jackman
Best Supporting Actor: Patinkin
Best Original Screenplay: Parker
Best Score: Webber

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