In late 1993, Glenn Close portrayed Norma Desmond in the debut Los Angeles (not Broadway) performance in the US.
Close also opened the Broadway production in November, 1994, and the show received seven Tony Awards in 1995 - but its successful run ended in 1997.
Sunset Boulevard (1950) is a classic black comedy/drama, and perhaps the most acclaimed, but darkest film-noir story about "behind the scenes" Hollywood, self-deceit, spiritual and spatial emptiness, and the price of fame, greed, narcissism, and ambition.
The mood of the film is immediately established as decadent and decaying by the posthumous narrator - a dead man floating face-down in a swimming pool in Beverly Hills.
Joe's treatment of the screenplay is criticized by clean-cut, Paramount script reader Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson) - she denounces it in "a two page synopsis" as being written "from hunger," "a rehash of something that wasn't very good to begin with," and "flat and trite." She is startled to discover that her evaluation has been overheard by the screenwriter himself and apologizes: "...right now I wish I could crawl in a hole and pull it in after me." She explains, "I just think that pictures should say a little something." One reason she rejected the script was because she recognized his name and thought he had some talent.
The devastated writer replies: "That was last year.
When his left front tire suffers a blowout, he pulls into a driveway and ditches his car in the big five-car empty garage of the 10086 Sunset Boulevard property with a mansion, in an exclusive residential section of town where great Hollywood stars live: "If ever there was a place to stash away a limping car with a hot license number." He parks his car next to an: enormous foreign built automobile - it must have burned up ten gallons to a mile. The idea was to get to Artie Green's and stay there until I could make that bus for Ohio. He doesn't foresee that he will be reeled in and end up fatally dependent upon her, with his John the Baptist's head on a platter for her.
Once back in Dayton, I'd drop the credit boys a picture postcard telling them where to pick up the jalopy. She will actually become the temptress Salome character with her dance of the Seven Veils.
A murder has been reported from one of those great big houses in the ten thousand block.
There was an intensive investigation but his murder case went unsolved.]The other starring role belonged to a modern day, B-movie hack screenwriter/narrator (William Holden, although Montgomery Clift was once considered for the role) who spoke beyond the grave as a phantom narrator.
He recounted how he struggled to produce screenplays to meet the demands of the industry and satisfy the thirsty illusions of immortality of the aging silent film queen in her decaying mansion.
After a showing to East Coast preview audiences, it was scrapped and replaced.]A voice-over narration is read cynically and crisply with a film-noirish style.
The first scene shows motorcycle officers followed by police cars with sirens blaring rushing to a mansion in Beverly Hills where they find a dead body floating face down in a swimming pool.
The major starring role in the film, an inspired casting choice, was held by legendary silent film diva Gloria Swanson (Mae West was also a possible choice for the role), who "autobiographically" portrayed Norma Desmond - a deluded, tragic, ambitious actress whose career declined with the coming of the talkies.