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Sunset Boulevard


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My two cents:

As far as Liz Taylor goes, only Larry Fortensky would fall into the category of significantly younger men that she married. (21 years difference). I don't even think any of the others were younger than her. So why fill in the blank?

 

As for men and Norma Desmond, I think most men would have shuffled their feet out of there once they got a load of that dead monkey. We were not dealing with just an older actress and younger man. Norma was certifiable.

 

It was a symbiotic relationship. Setting aside his writing, she got an ego boost and a boy toy. He got taken care of. Really any different than an old geezer with money and a youg girl? I think they both took advantage. He played along with a fruitcake in letting her believe she had a comeback in her future, her in that once she got him in there, she took more and more of his life and identity outside of her. She coerced him with money and threatened him with harming herself.

 

Sorry to be a buttinsky

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>He played along with a fruitcake in letting her believe she had a comeback in her future, her in that once she got him in there, she took more and more of his life and identity outside of her.

 

Since Norma Desmond was delusional, she wasn't really aware she was doing anything wrong-this was normal life for her.

 

Joe, OTOH was wholly aware he was taking advantage of her feelings for him, but thought he could play with fire and remain unscathed, as does most people in their 20's.

He thought he could beat the odds but once he realized how dangerous the situation was, he was already trapped! That's why the Nancy Olsen visit scene was so poignant. He is admitting his entrapment to her.

 

What makes this film really great though is the segment when Norma visits the studio. I love hearing the whispers, "Norma Desmond!" and the overhead shot of the crew gathering around her in admiration. The spot on her face and the boom mike nudging her were the most touching & brilliant part of this movie for me.

It helps illustrate Norma's greatness, she's not just a whacko.

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Oh,, Tiki, I am not trying to deny Norma's past greatness, or that she should be sent to the corn field because she has gotten old and movies hag changed. But as deluded as she was, she knew how to manipulate.

Which she did. So I would say she manipulated naturally and not unaware of what she was doing - and the manipulation didn't stem from her mental undoing, but from her being a creature of Hollywood. I have every confidence that when she was young and lucid, she would have threatened suicide to get her way. Joe was a baby when it came to the ins and outs of Hollywood. Norma had the upper hand with Joe all along, delusional or not. Joe was a jamoke thinking he would come out ahead and unscathed. But it was symbiotic..

 

I agree. The return to the studio was a powerful scene.

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I don't think there were any younger. Hell, she was pretty young when she married Hilton, Wilding and Todd. Fisher and Burton, I believe she was around 30ish. Warner was geezerish when they married. And then Fortensky. I think that's all the members of the Elizabeth Taylor Marriage Club.

 

I think we have a tendency to think her older than she was. She was only 31 when Cleopatra was released.

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Great movie and discussion on this thread. I think perhaps both parties benefitted in some way. Norma wanted a younger guy and did whatever she could to keep him and buy him off. Joe, on the other hand, was willing to accept it, he was down and out and went along with the whole thing. The weak link in the film was the Nancy Olsen character. I didn't think she really fit the role too well - or Jack Webb.

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>newbie said: Norma wanted a younger guy and did whatever she could to keep him and buy him off.

 

You're kind of missing the point. Norma doesn't want a younger man intentionally. Norma does not see the huge gap in their respective ages, she has very little acceptance that she herself has aged.

 

>The weak link in the film was the Nancy Olsen character. I didn't think she really fit the role too well - or Jack Webb.

 

When I think of "supporting actors", I think of these two roles (as well as Bruno Kirby & Carrie Fisher in WHEN HARRY MET SALLY) which I think are superb! They truly "support" the story!

 

The supporting couple mirror the doomed Joe & Norma charactors relationship, only the "let's do things the right way, it's better" example. It's illustrating Joe's and Norma's "slippery slope" attitude towards morality ending in death.

 

I think both Jack Webb & Nancy Olsen were perfect for their parts. It was nice to see Webb acting happy as compared to his stone faced Joe Friday portrayal.

And Nancy Olsen was sweet but serious. I thought her confusion upon discovering Norma and subsequent hurt realizing the man she has fallen in love with is a weak coward...was perfectly portrayed.

 

>Great movie and discussion on this thread.

 

I agree, and I hope you're not offended by my 2?.

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I don't think Joe is a cad by nature - his desperation leads him to taKe advantage of Noma initially (pretending her script is anything but terrible) but once he is in her clutches, he is like a fly in a spider's web - broke, no wheels, no means of support, tc etc. true he could have just walked earlier than he did however.

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>Without wheels? Is there a bus that runs on Sunset?

 

There was but after the Sunset-Highland line driver yelled in a fit of exasperation, "This Wheel's on Fire" that bus line service was discontinued. And his name was Ivor the engine driver.

 

:-)

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