“Dark Film” and Sunset Blvd. Essay

“Dark Film” and Sunset Blvd. Essay

Length: 1076 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Film noir, by translation alone, means dark film, and by that measurement Sunset Boulevard certainly fits the genre. A gloomy story that follows a jaded and sarcastic protagonist, Joe Gillis from his initial dire circumstances to his untimely death, Sunset Blvd. earns the description “dark” several times over. But there is more to film noir than crushingly depressing plotlines. There are common motifs and icons that are found in most film noirs, such as crime, dark alleys, guns and alcohol. Deeper than this, film noir features certain visual elements, character archetypes, and themes that create a unique style of film. Although some have argued that Sunset Blvd. fails to represent some of these elements, it has become known as one of the most iconic film noirs ever made. Sunset Boulevard (1950), written and directed by Billy Wilder exemplifies the film noir style through its use of visual elements (lighting, shots and angles), memorable characters, themes and overall structure of the film.
First and foremost, film noir refers to the visual style of a picture. The imagery of film noir was influenced by early 20th century German expressionism, featuring distorted, sinister shapes and shadows. These precursors to film noir used abstract figures and looming shadows for bizarre, emotionally stirring results. Techniques such as chiaroscuro were used to give a dark and minimalistic feeling. In many cases lighting is limited to a single harsh light source, which obscures the image, and even throws shadows across actors’ faces. These elements ensure that an audience regards the actors and the setting with equal importance. Oblique angled shots permeate many film noirs, naturally provoking anxiousness and apprehension in the viewer. In Sun...

... middle of paper ...

...ol, and he ended up floating face down in one. Norma’s fame ultimately proved to be the cause of her insanity.
The noir style is showcased in Sunset Boulevard with its use of visually dark and uncomfortable settings and camera work, as well as its use of the traditional film noir characters. In addition, the overall tone and themes expressed in it tightly correspond to what many film noirs addressed. What made this film unique was its harsh criticism of the film industry itself, which some of Wilder’s peers saw as biting the hand that fed him. There is frequent commentary on the superficial state of Hollywood and its indifference to suffering, which is still a topic avoided by many in the film business today. However, Sunset Blvd. set a precedent for future film noirs, and is an inspiration for those who do not quite believe what they are being shown by Hollywood.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Sunset Blvd. Essay

- The Thematic Intentions of Sunset Boulevard The film Sunset Boulevard directed by Billy Wilder and staring the main characters of Norma Desmond, Joe Gillis, and Max Von Mayerling is ideal example of how important film making techniques help depict a movie’s core theme intentions with vivid clarity. Classic Hollywood is the first thing that comes to mind when one speaks about this film’s style. This signature category combined with the visual style of realism and it’s continuity editing; detailed mise-en-scene and all of its characteristics; and lastly the use of reoccurring motifs with formalistic qualities make the audience grasp the central theme of just how vicious the actual motio...   [tags: essays research papers]

Strong Essays
2131 words (6.1 pages)

Sequence Analysis Sunset Blvd. Essay

- ... The mise-en- scene in this sequence can be compared to an audience watching a film. In this sequence, Jeff and Stella are in a room with a soft key light, as if in a movie theater. In this case they are the audience. They look out of the window outside to Thorwald’s apartment, the window represents the screen. Meanwhile, Thorwald’s apartment is brightly lit, this acts as a film itself as the viewer looks at what is unfolding inside. As the sequence begins to escalate, shifting from Jeff’s dimly lit apartment to Thorwald’s brightly lit and later pitch dark apartment, it as if each shot after shot, films the audience’s reaction to what is going on in the scene....   [tags: Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window]

Strong Essays
933 words (2.7 pages)

Film Noir and Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard Essay

- Film Noir, a term coined by the French to describe a style of film characterized by dark themes, storylines, and visuals, has been influencing cinematic industries since the 1940’s. With roots in German expressionistic films and Italian postwar documentaries, film noir has made its way into American film as well, particularly identified in mob and crime pictures. However, such settings are not exclusive to American film noir. One noteworthy example is Billy Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard, which follows the foreboding tale of Joe Gillis, the desperate-for-success protagonist, who finds himself in the fatal grips of the disillusioned femme fatale Norma Desmond....   [tags: Film, Movies, dark themes]

Strong Essays
1109 words (3.2 pages)

Willy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard Essay

- Sunset Boulevard Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Boulevard” is a 1950’s film about famous, but forgotten, Norma Desmond, a silent film star, who has been living in exile, in her gloomy rundown mansion. William Holden stars as Joe Gillis, a struggling Hollywood screenwriter looking for work with no success. During a car chase between Joe Gillis, and the repo men who are after his car, his tires blow out leaving him stranded in Desmond’s deserted mansion. Desmond spends her time watching her old films, dreaming of the day when she makes her grand comeback....   [tags: film review]

Strong Essays
525 words (1.5 pages)

Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder Essay

- It has always been a quest for individuals to achieve fame and success. In this day and age a community exists where many people have this intent to achieve this desire for attention and wealth. Hollywood can be interpreted as this mindset and life style. For those who succeed in this community of publicity seekers, include the usual benefits of success, wealth, power, influence and fame. But for the majority of people in Hollywood their quest for the luxuries of fame go awry. Hollywood to put plainly is a vulgar cut throat business, it is a dog eat dog world out there in Hollywood....   [tags: Film Industry, Film Analysis]

Strong Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Man's Dark Nature in Film Essay

- From the beginning of cinema to the present day, Hollywood has had a morbid fascination with the dark, shadowy side of society. This is reflected in many films of the past, inherently most evident in the German expressionistic films of the 1920’s and 30’s. In a sense, society’s fascination with the macabre stems from their fears and anxieties. Thus, allowing filmmakers and storytellers to toy with their fears and horrify them like a terrible nightmare that comes to life. Most people in today’s society have a fear of the unknown, this can stem from natural factors like growing old and dying to such terrifying abnormal factors that may be real or not....   [tags: Film Analysis ]

Strong Essays
2220 words (6.3 pages)

Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder Essays

- Film Noir is a fairly self-explanatory name. French for “Dark” or “Black Film”, this style (not genre) of film is pretty much summed up in those two words. These films started being made in a 1940’s, Post WWII paranoia, with the threat of nuclear missiles looming over the heads of all United States citizens, Hollywood included. This paranoia led to disillusioned attitudes and existential feelings, which in turn were reflected in Film Noirs through things such as characters, with the two most prominent types being hardened male protagonists and femme fatales....   [tags: Film Noir, Characteristics]

Strong Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

Essay on Dancer in the Dark Film Review

- If I was to reduce my description of "Dancer in the dark" to one word, it would be daring. Its immediate effect on me was stronger than that of maybe any other film I've ever seen. It shook me, stirred my emotions, made me think and reflect, it disturbed me in the most positive sense of the word and it still does. Its radical make, boldness and consistency exceeds all expectations and probably everything that's come before. This is the perfect example of a director's vision uncompromisingly realized....   [tags: Film]

Strong Essays
1952 words (5.6 pages)

Sunset Boulevard Essay

- Sunset Boulevard (Wilder 1950) explores the intermingling of public and private realms, puncturing the illusion of the former and unveiling the grim and often disturbing reality of the latter. By delving into the personal delusions of its characters and showing the devastation caused by disrupting those fantasies, the film provides not only a commentary on the industry of which it is a product but also a shared anxiety about the corrupting influence of external perception. Narrated by a dead man, centering on a recluse tortured by her own former stardom, and concerning a once-promising director who refuses to believe his greatest star could ever be forgotten, the work dissects a multitude of...   [tags: Film Review]

Strong Essays
1938 words (5.5 pages)

Sunset Essay

- Seriously, I only witnessed the sunset few times during my existence. Though explanation may take quite some time, but do allow me. Singapore- a tiny piece of land lying at the tip of Malay Peninsular. Having a population of around three million ( yes, same as the number of cows providing us with milk in New Zealand, as emphasised in that famous milk advertisement), that leaves us pondering over the suffiency of living space for the growing nation. Adolf Hitler wanted living space for his German mates, so that intelligent being resolved that by sending troops to invade his neighbouring countries....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
692 words (2 pages)