Sunset Blvd is an American comedy produced in 1950. It reflects the silent era where the popularity of artists and movie stars fade. The movie ends by the characters planning for a comeback in the movie industry, representing the sound era. The characters Joe, Norma and Max are hit by hard economic times. Earlier in the 1920s, these characters had rosy careers in art and lived in mansions. The producers in the studios also had a booming career since Sunset studios produced the best-selling movies. Sunset city was equally in the prosperous path in the 1920s because it hosted a great number of movie stars such as Norma Desmond. As the events unfold by the time of creation of the movie, careers have faded, movie stars such as Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis have lost popularity and have moved to a lower social status and the town of Sunset has lost its glory as the heartbeat of art in Hollywood. In a parallel comparison, countries such as the United States, the Great Britain and German were experiencing prosperous economic times during the 1920s but turned to worse economic times like the characters in the movie. Just as German and the Great Britain were greatly indebted to the United States, major characters such as Joe had an unpaid up car loan and still was seeking more loans for upkeep and to pay his bills. This paper explores the events in the movie Sunset Blvd. A close comparison is made between the events in the movie and the great depression. The economic and social aspects of the great depression such as crashing economic condition, poor performance of financial institutions, and subsequent World War II are evoked by the dwindling financial position of the characters, fading of the art career, dilapidation of the Sunset city and the subsequent fatal confrontation between Joe and Norma. This represents the silent era. The paper asserts as the hard economic times of faced by the characters in the movie are comparable to the great depression that affected the United States, Britain and German in the period before 1950. After the silent era ends, the characters prepare to re-emerge into their art careers. Similarly, after the great depression ends, the United States, German and Britain lay sound policies to enable them become economically strong.
Sunset Blvd 1950 evokes the hard economic times for businesses in the great depression. It shows the crumbled markets and the reduced demand for goods. One of the victims of the hard times for business owners is Joe Gillis. On his memories of the events that led to his death, he gives an encounter of the difficult times when he was alive. He is typing out a screenplay in his apartment on Ivar Street of Hollywood. The description of the apartment shows the poor condition of the occupant. The apartment is unpleasant and of poor quality. The condition reflects the great depression when people could not afford living in descent and high costly houses. In the great depression, markets and revenues for businesses were dwindling. Joe is trying desperately to find a market for his screenplay to make a car loan payment which is due. The struggle to find a market reflects the struggle countries like the United States went through in finding market for their goods. The major customers were either in great debt or suffered from unemployment and had no ability to purchase goods. The car repo men are about to repossess Joe’s car, which indicates that the banking business is crashing. Loan repayments are not made promptly, or not made at all as shown by Joe’s non-serviced car loan. Joe goes to meet a producer at the Paramount studios. He still does not find luck. Betty Schaeffer who is a script reader at the Paramount studio pans Joe’s script. The struggling economic times that the characters go through reflect the struggling economy of the United States during the same time. It is clear that the characters in the movie are undergoing a silent era just like the United States.
Sunset Blvd evokes the aspect of declining fame and power of the once strong countries such as US, German and Britain that came with the great depression. The aspect is evoked by the fading popularity and wealth of the characters, studios and even Sunset City. The studios that were once popular in marketing and financing artists start to go downhill. The first victim of the decline in popularity and economic status is Joe. The high and unaffordable cost of living of the great depression greatly affects the lifestyle of artists. Gillis cannot afford to pay rent for his apartment and slips to become a kept man. In the same way, German and Britain could not pay their debt obligations to the United States during the great depression. Norma Desmond is not an exception. She was a one-time movie star. At the time Joe meets Norma, she is reeling on the dream of her former glory. Max, her former director preserves her fragile illusions by sending her congratulatory letters that hide the identity as an ardent fan of her works. Just as the popularity of the characters fade away, the US also loses its glory o offering the best living standards and maintaining a firm grip of the economy.
The movie evokes the inability of people to get loans and crashing financial institutions. Joe has been unable to pay a car loan and still wants to take more loans. At the paramount studio where he unsuccessfully tries to sell his screenplay, Joe seeks to get a loan from the producer but gets none. The incident reflects the times in the great depression when financial institutions in the United States were cash trapped and could not afford giving loans. As Joe leaves the studio, he is spotted by the repo-men and escapes down Sunset Blvd. The inability to get loans reflects the situation of German, Britain and the United States. t such a time when the movie is produced, German and Britain owe the United States a deep debt that they are not able to pay.
During the great depression, the purchasing power of consumers reduced and many Americans resorted to buying goods on credit and fell on debt. The number of repossessions escalated steadily. People took large amounts of unsecured loans. Joe is one of the people who take a large loan to finance a non-revenue generating asset, a car. The reason he is trying desperately to sell his screenplay is to find money to repay the loan for his car. He has not paid the loan for some time now and he has the last step before car repo men repossess the car for failing to pay the loan. Surprisingly, he is not lucky to sell his screenplay.
Another reflection of the movie to the great depression is the crash in the housing business. Most characters such as Joe do not own their own houses. The inability of people to afford buying homes indicates that homeowners are not making sales. Most of the houses that business people built now remain unoccupied and abandoned. As Joe has not succeeded in the business of scriptwriting in Hollywood, he conceives the decision to give up. Joe thinks of leaving his car there and skip town. He takes a look at the mansion and figures it was abandoned. Joe describes the initial status of the mansion as a great big white elephant built by the crazy movie people in the prosperous twenties. He compared the mansion to Miss Haversham depicted in the Great Expectations as having been a wealthy lady who is presently holed in a ruined mansion. Later, we realize the owner of the old mansion is Norma Desmond. This is the mansion in which Joe later stays with the Norma family.
The setting of the movie also reflected the unethical business practice that countries participated in a short period before the great depression. The movie was set at Sunset BLVD. Sunset is an English name that describes a time when the sun goes down. Sunset was perceived as a portrait of Hollywood. It topped as the serious treatments of life in Hollywood. Most movies and music produced at Sunset place were irony-free. The period 1950 exposes the film capital t it worst. It is portrayed as the world where the players hustle for money, sex and success through dubious means. These characteristics are synonymous to the United States before the great depression. The nation was the most popular financial hub. The traders in the stock market started engaging in risky business activities aimed at selfish interests. This led to the crashing of the stock market. The mortgage firms and financial institutions began issuing unsecured loans, leading to the crash in the banking sector. The events of the great depression in the entire nation are reminiscent of the events at Sunset where businesses for the once-popular script writers, producers, and movie stars went sour. The once beautiful mansions such as Norma’s mansion became dilapidated to the point of being seen as inhabitable. The once popular Hollywood film shot destination was now abandoned. The major participants such as Joe Gillis changed from leading actors to a person of the tainted image and faded power.
The movie ends by Norma and Joe engaging in a confrontation and Norma ends up shooting Joe dead. The incident evokes the violence that erupts after the Great Depression as nations break into the Second World War. The economically powerful states could not contain their differences resulting from the economic challenges and ended up in war. Similarly, the once popular script writer and movie star did vent their anger through violent confrontations. Joe could not contain his long held decision to ditch Norma and declare his love for Betty. Joe also discloses to Norma that Max had been sending the congratulatory letters and not her fans. Since Norma cannot contain the truth, she shoots Joe dead. The sound era is exhibited by the Norma and Eric Von conceiving plans to restore their lost glory in the movie industry. Similarly, the United States formulates policies to strengthen its economy and prevent any incidence of depression.
The characters and the setting of the movie evoke the social and economic aspects of the great depression in the United States. Before the unfortunate economic event, the United States was shining in the glory of a healthy and rosy economy. Similarly, the characters in the movie enjoyed a moment of glory and popularity in the 1920s before the great depression. The characters such as Joe Gillis and Norma Desmond were also rich to the point Norma build a luxurious mansion. The studios and producers had also a vast market from artists and they were collecting large sums of revenues. The traces of evidence indicate the prosperous moment such as Joe going to get financial help from the producers. In the 1950s, the characters experienced hard financial times. Their products were not selling, they were chased around by financial companies for defaulting loans, their popularity reduced and some such as Joe could not completely pay bills. The moment reflected the silent era in the the great depression in the United States and other nations. The unemployment level increased, the Gross Domestic Product reduced, the stock market crashed, companies reduced production and others even shut down. After the depression, the United States emerges with more sound policies to restore its economic prosperity. These encounters show that the movie is a perfect reflection of the great depression.