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We had faces then: Sunset Boulevard and the sense of the spectral

Grayson Cooke, Southern Cross University

Abstract

The article discusses how the motion picture "Sunset Boulevard," directed by Billy Wilder, depicts the role of the face for motion picture actors. The author describes faces as a commodity in the motion picture industry and discusses how the character of Norma Desmond in the film represents the end of silent films. He compares the appeal of film celebrities to ghosts and notes how the film is narrated by a deceased character. He suggests the film combines aspects of film noir with horror films and comments on a sequence depicting Norma's makeover.

Suggested Citation

Post-print of: Cooke, G 2009, 'We had faces then: Sunset Boulevard and the sense of the spectral', Quarterly Review of Film and Video, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 89-101.

The publisher's version of the article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10509200600737762