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Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Sunset Blvd" 

For this week's special edition of Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- temporarily redubbed "Hit Me With Your Second-Best Shot" as I've declared that iconic finale off limits -- we're looking at the finest Movie About the Movies ever made. Or one of them at least. The point is it's entirely unmissable and a candidate for any sane All Time Greatest Movie list. The film never gets old or becomes irrelevant even though those are two of its best and most horrifically stared-down topics.

Billy Wilder's masterpiece (or one of them at least), immeasurably aided by inspired performances from William Holden as the screenwriter to Gloria Swanson's screen siren, is not just an acting and writing triumph. It's also a stunner in all the craft categories, particularly its Oscar-winning art direction and its cinematography by John F Seitz, a seven time nominee. His work is magnificent throughout, providing maximum pleasure to "those wonderful people out there in the dark" with his expressive lighting.

So let's get right to those (second) best shots...

A Visual Index of Sunset Blvd (1950)

(Second) Best Shot. According to these 15 movie-loving participants
Click on any image to be taken to the corresponding article
Images presented in rough order as to when they appear in the movie

My New Plaid Pants - this is not technically an entry but people, let this be a lesson to you. If you've already chosen a shot, write a sentence or two about it. The hard part is choosing after all. If you've chosen, do it. We'll link up! 

100% macabre
- Movie Motorbreath *video entry* 

'Stars are ageless.' This shot disagrees."
-I Want to Believe 

There is one entity who has never betrayed her: her 'celluloid self.'"
-The Entertainment Junkie 

Everyone, including Norma, can't help but look at Norma...
-Sorta That Guy 

This image sums up Sunset Blvd., and even more than that,  the entire psychological universe of noir... 
-Antagony & Ecstasy 

No matter how crazy Norma Desmond may be, I always find her incredibly sympathetic...
-Film Actually 

We might be entering the movie’s world through Joe Gillis’s point of view, but unlike him, we *are* here to see Norma Desmond. 
-Coco Hits NY 

It's easy to imagine she does this ever year, even without a handsome writer..."
-Awards Madness 

Already too attached to Norma and her gifts...
-Dancin Dan on Film 

If Norma Desmond is a fictionalized version of Gloria Swanson, Max Von Mayerling is a quasi-(auto)biographical portrait of Erich von Stroheim...
-Paul Outlaw 

We expect cold humiliating truth but what we get is the film's most genuinely warm moment... 
- The Film Experience 

Norma Desmond would be proud of the leading lady portraying her..."
-54 Disney Reviews 

A true star always finds the light...
-Jija Crazy Movie *first time participant*

A one-man army of servants, for her sake, steps back into his role as director once more..."
-Allison Tooey  

Please do visit each article, share, and comment. The more eyes the merrier when it comes to worshipping great stars. You haven't forgotten what a star looks like.

NEXT WEDNESDAY: 1995's [safe] starring Julianne Moore

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Reader Comments (9)

I'm a bit late, but I couldn't not do this one:

July 15, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I am not tech savvy enough to post this shot:

But I admit I am surprised that no one posted this second best shot. Using the film noir conceit of the off screen baritone narration of the protagonist, the scene of Joe's dead body floating in the pool reaches out and grabs you and after that Wilder never lets go. It sets the course for the movie, always not quite right and unexpected but so true. And so starts, I believe, one of the great films ever

And....this was the second opening that was filmed. This was the substitute for a morgue scene that did not work

July 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie19

I'm going to try and hit some of the other sites individually over the next couple of days to spread praise around, but for right now, can I just summarize by saying that I think this is the all-round best Best Shot week ever?

July 16, 2015 | Registered CommenterTim Brayton

Such a great read. Sunset Boulevard was one of the first 'classic' films I watched when I really became interested in film around the age of 11. It has always remained one of my favourite films, especially because of the biting script, stone cold direction and, of course, Gloria Swanson's devouring performance.

I love getting to read each of the short insights into the film. Such a great round, and beautiful shots all round. Can't wait for next week with my beloved Juli and Todd.

July 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Leslie, that shot was one of my original choices, but since you yourself ruled it out along with the closing shot... ;-)

July 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Those shots of Swanson are stunning.

July 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

I love how three of us picked the same shot! Plus, Coco's shot was the one that just lost out on my final pick. So interesting to watch the same movie, have the most infamous shot be prohibited and yet still flock to similar choices.

July 16, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Derreck: If you count a shot as "start of shot to next edit" only it's 11 screencaps chosen from 10 shots (there's no cut between the Film Actually screencap and the Coco Loves NY screencap) by 13 participants.

July 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

One of my favorite weeks ever. Such a great movie and interesting to see what everyone picked

July 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

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