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Sunset Boulevard(1950)

What had started in co-authors Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett’s minds as a comedy about a faded silent screen star living by her wits evolved into one of the most biting depictions of Hollywood and the cost of fame. When the more serious turn of films took over after World War II, Wilder began pushing the script in a more cynical direction, but the story was going nowhere until reporter D.M. Marshman Jr. joined the team and suggested the silent star become involved with a younger man. The story was so trenchant, that the first actresses Wilder approached, including Mae West and Mary Pickford, turned him down. Fred MacMurray refused the role of the young man, calling it morally offensive. Instead, former silent star Gloria Swanson and William Holden— who was happy to break out of typecasting as happy-go-lucky characters—took the parts for which they would be best remembered. The controversy continued when Wilder screened the film for industry members (MGM head Louis B. Mayer reportedly offered to buy the film so he could destroy it). Fortunately, Wilder stuck to his guns and the film became one of the greatest films ever made about Hollywood. It also won the writing team, along with the art department and composer Franz Waxman, Oscars for their work. (d. Billy Wilder, 110m, Digital)

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