Today, I'm making a list of reasons why William Holden in Sunset Boulevard (1950) is the perfect old Hollywood boyfriend.
This article is part of the Reel Infatuation Blogathon hosted by Font & Frock and Silver Screenings.
On paper, the character of Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard (1950) isn't exactly the perfect boyfriend. He's an out of work screenwriter who is sponging off a certifiably wacky silent movie queen, not to mention that when the movie begins he's floating in a pool with a fatal gunshot wound to the back.
However on celluloid, Joe is embodied by William Holden, which, at least for me, means he's about as near to perfection as any man can get. There are dozens of reasons to watch writer and director Billy Wilder's caustic Hollywood noir, but Holden's Academy Award-nominated performance (I think he should have won) is certainly in the top ten. Joe is a tricky character to play -- in other hands he could have come off as either a weakling or an amoral con artist -- but Holden's particular screen magic brings to the character a sardonic humor and sensitive masculinity that is endlessly attractive onscreen. Also, he looks really, really good in tuxedo. So with that in mind, here's five light-hearted reasons why Joe is the perfect old Hollywood boyfriend.
|Gloria Swanson and William Holden in Sunset Boulevard (1950).|
1. He's a good listener. One of the reasons silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) immediately takes to Joe is that he is sympathetic to her concerns and actually cares, or at least appears to care, about her problems, whether its planning a chimpanzee funeral or writing the perfect script for her big screen comeback.2. He'll make your old boyfriends jealous. The minute Norma's former husband turned servant Max von Mayerling (Erich von Stroheim) gets a look at her new golden boy, it drives him into a fit of jealousy that leads to moody Phantom of the Opera-esque organ solos.
|William Holden, Gloria Swanson, and Erich von Stroheim in Sunset Boulevard (1950).|
3. He'll go shopping with you. Joe's your man anytime you feel like strapping on the leopard print turban and dusting off the Isotta Fraschini for some retail therapy.
|William Holden and Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (1950).|