sunset-boulevarddvdIn 2008 Paramount has released three classic films from the 1950’s under the Centennial DVD brand. We reviewed ‘Sabrina’ and ‘Roman Holiday’ earlier in the week, but today we return with ‘Sunset Boulevard’. ‘Sunset Boulevard’ is Billy Wilder’s take into the film noir genre. Billy Wilder does an excellent job bring in mystery throughout ‘Sunset Boulevard’. This new Centennial Collection of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ on DVD is the version to own with a restored print and plethora of special features not found in the previous DVD release.

‘Sunset Boulevard’ begins with a bang from the start with a sign of the films name on a curbside gutter. Joe Gillis (William Holden) is a screenwriter that is in trouble for not paying his bills. He is on the run and finds himself in front of an abandoned mansion which he decides to enter due to a voice calling him in. The voice is Norma Desmond’s (Gloria Swanson) talking to him. Norma was a former silent film star years ago. Norma hires Joe to help her write a script that would help her return to Hollywood. One thing leads to another with Norma and Joe as romance is in the air. Little does Joe know what he is getting himself into with Norma.

Print/Audio Quality
The print is presented in 1.75:1 full frame aspect ratio. I still wonder why this film hasn’t been released in anamorphic widescreen since the original intent of the film was always to be in widescreen. The print looks fantastic without any visual blemishes. This is one of the most beautiful black and white films that I have ever seen. Details are much better this time around as compared to the 2001 release. Contrast has more definition making this one beautiful looking black and white film. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 with all the dialogue coming through being very clear through the center channel.

Special Features

  • Audio Commentary by Ed Sikov
  • The Making of Sunset Boulevard
  • Sunset Boulevard: The Beginning
  • The Noir Side of Sunset Boulevar
  • Sunset Boulevard Becomes a Classic
  • Stories of Sunset Boulevard
  • Recording Sunset Boulevard
  • The City of Sunset Boulevard
  • Franz Waxman and the Music of Sunset Boulevard
  • Morgue Prologue Script Pages
  • Hollywood Location Map
  • Two Sides of Ms. Swanson
  • Mad About the Boy: A Portrait of William Holden
  • Edith Head: The Paramount Years
  • Paramount in the ‘50s
  • Behind the Gates: The Lot
  • Theatrical Trailer

‘Sunset Boulevard’ is a classic film noir that is still rather shocking 55 years later and this film still holds up very well against modern day film. If you are a previous owner of the 2001 DVD release, I highly recommend upgrading to the new Centennial DVD release.