1950, NR, 110 min. Directed by Billy Wilder. Starring Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich Von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Jack Webb, Hedda Hopper, Buster Keaton, Cecil B. DeMille, Anna Q. Nilsson.
A new 50th-anniversary print of this legendary tale of Hollywood glory and decay still provides a biting portrait of the Dream Factory. Swanson gives the performance of her lifetime as a faded silent movie star who takes Holden’s broke screenwriter into her mansion in return for other “favors.” This tempest in a teapot all happens under the watchful eye of the Prussian butler, who is expertly played by von Stroheim. Billy Wilder’s cynical edge is finely honed in this darkly amusing satire, which won three Academy Awards. It’s a film that is perennially ready for its close-up.
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