When much-too-wordy-for-a-dead-guy narrator William Holden tells us about the dark ominous mansion he's happened upon, the direction and atmosphere doesn't match up. He could be walking up to a local tavern and it'd be equally as suspenseful...

The best thing about SUNSET BOULEVARD is it's really a monster movie/creature feature and in that, a terrifyingly creepy Gloria Swanson makes up for a bland and overly glib Holden who, outside the main location, has a flirtatious affair with super-cute Nancy Olson as part of a soapy Hollywood-satire melodrama that simply isn't thrilling enough to be called a thriller...

And it's definitely not a Film Noir: If anything, SUNSET is a satire on Hollywood created and adored by Hollywood with built-in gripes that aren't very universal: a lot like another show biz satire (considered a classic as well) decades later, also starring William Holden, called Network: Both are vastly overrated. But Gloria Swanson's tour-de-force is far less forced than Peter Finch, and she's impossible to not be intrigued with. It just seems the audience has more interest than her smug leading man. GRADE: B

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