Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

FOCUS – Inspired by Sunset Boulevard

Note: A link to the entire film is after the jump.

May I present the most kickass stoplight you’ve ever seen. Well okay, your mileage may vary but I’ve been digging on this stoplight since the first moment I saw it. (And yes, I *am* easily entertained.) This was a typical sight on Sunset Boulevard in 1949, as captured in the iconic film Sunset Boulevard just moments before a pivotal flat tire changes Joe Gillis’ life forever, forcing him to hide out in Norma Desmond’s driveway.

I’m normally not one for traffic signals, but I love love love this stoplight. The technology was still relatively new… clearly people couldn’t be counted on to pay attention to simple colored lights yet so they made sure to add an automated sign that announced “Stop” and “Go” as well, just to make sure you were doubly aware of what green and red meant. No excuses, buddy.

Sunset Boulevard is, hands down, my number one top favorite film for sentimental reasons and has been ever since I first saw it with roommates just days after moving to Los Angeles from San Diego by myself. I loved everything about the movie… the noir cinematography; the incredible dialogue (My favorite line? “Funny how gentle people get with you once you’re dead.” Just wow.); the total sexy hotness of William Holden in his vicuna; the batshitinsaneness of Gloria Swanson’s iconic portrayal of Norma; Erich VonStroheim’s accent; Betty’s smart sassiness; seeing Detective Joe Friday as a skinny party boy; and of course, the monkey funeral… but most of all, I LOVED being able to witness vintage Los Angeles in its glory. The magic of the film hooked me completely.

A few days after seeing the movie, I remember driving around town with my friends in search of the filming locations… it was so exciting to just imagine we were breathing the same air as William Holden and Gloria Swanson had, albeit decades later. Sunset Boulevard was the first film that inspired me to take to the streets and explore old Los Angeles, because the film captured it and showed it to me in real time. It’s a time capsule of the Los Angeles that has since been paved over and considered forgotten… but there are still very tangible traces of that city if you look for them.

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