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Second Takes -- Billy Wilder

April 17, 2009 | 10:00 am

Aug. 29, 1950, Sunset Boulevard

Aug. 20, 1950: Coming soon: "Sunset Boulevard."

Nov. 6, 1948 Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Nov. 6, 1948: Gloria Swanson meets Billy Wilder and Charles Bracket to discuss "Sunset Boulevard."

Feb. 10, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Feb. 10, 1949: The script isn't done.

Above, Gloria Swanson and Melvyn Douglas in a clip from the 1931 picture "Tonight or Never."

Feb. 17, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

But despite her long film career, Swanson made a screen test for "Sunset Boulevard," according to The Times, Feb. 17, 1949
Feb. 22, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Feb. 22, 1949: Swanson is cast in "Sunset Boulevard."

March 4, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

March 4, 1949: The cast includes Montgomery Clift.

March 19, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard
March 19, 1949: Clift is out.
March 27, 1949: Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard
March 27, 1949: A prophetic notice in The Times.

April 2, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

April 2, 1949, Erich von Stroheim returns to Hollywood to make "Sunset Boulevard."


April 2, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Sept. 22, 1950, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard
May 28, 1950, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

May 28, 1950: The Times says William Holden had never seen Gloria Swanson in a film until working on "Sunset Boulevard."

At left, Sept. 22, 1950: Swanson and Von Stroheim are paid $430,592.11 USD 2007 for their roles in the film. 
April 25, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard


May 1, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

May 1, 1949: Swanson is emphatic that "Sunset Boulevard" is not autobiographical. Von Stroheim complains bitterly about being typecast by Hollywood.
May 1, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

June 1, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

June 1, 1949: Casting Hedda Hopper in "Sunset Boulevard" was a brilliant stroke of marketing as it ensured frequent plugs for the movie.


June 13, 1949 Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Above, a description of the opening that was cut from the final version of the film.
July 17, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard
 

June 19, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

June 18, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

June 18, 1949: Hopper reports on her scene in the film.


Oct. 8, 1950, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Wilder wanted Nancy Olson to look plain for her scenes in the film.
June 20, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

June 20, 1949: A Swanson impersonator is a regular on the set.

Sept. 23, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Sept. 26, 1949, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Above: "They'll love it in Pomona."
Jan. 3, 1950, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Jan. 3, 1950: A photo shows people on the set while Holden and Swanson film a key scene.

Aug. 25, 1950, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Aug. 25, 1950: "There is just one primary issue and that is of public receptiveness to a story of this kind. Will people welcome tearing aside the curtain on much that is sinister and terrible in Hollywood? ... 'Sunset Boulevard' ... tells a sordid narrative that might very well be duplicated in real life. It minces no issues. It is threaded with bitterness, disillusionment and hovers ever over the age of despair."
 -- Edwin Schallert

July 19, 1950, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

Nov. 7, 1950, Billy Wilder, Sunset Boulevard

At left, one of the stranger items I've ever found in going through the old papers: An Earl Scheib ad that features "Sunset Boulevard." Scheib actually mentioned the movie several times in his ads.

Above, Nov. 7, 1950: Hopper reports that Brackett has signed a seven-year contract with Fox after the end of his deal with Wilder and Paramount. 



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