Sunset Boulevard (1950) - full transcript

In Hollywood of the 50's, the obscure screenplay writer Joe Gillis is not able to sell his work to the studios, is full of debts and is thinking in returning to his hometown to work in an office. While trying to escape from his creditors, he has a flat tire and parks his car in a decadent mansion in Sunset Boulevard. He meets the owner and former silent-movie star Norma Desmond, who lives alone with her butler and driver Max Von Mayerling. Norma is demented and believes she will return to the cinema industry, and is protected and isolated from the world by Max, who was her director and husband in the past and still loves her. Norma proposes Joe to move to the mansion and help her in writing a screenplay for her comeback to the cinema, and the small-time writer becomes her lover and gigolo. When Joe falls in love for the young aspirant writer Betty Schaefer, Norma becomes jealous and completely insane and her madness leads to a tragic end.

Yes, this is Sunset Boulevard,
Los Angeles, California.

It's about 5:00 in the morning.

That's the homicide squad...

complete with detectives
and newspaper men.

A murder has been reported from
one of those great big houses...

in the ten thousand block.

You'll read about it
in the late editions, I'm sure.

You'll get it over your radio
and see it on television...

because an old-time star is
involved... one of the biggest.

But before you hear it all distorted
and blown out of proportion...

before those Hollywood columnists
get their hands on it...

maybe you'd like to hear the facts...
the whole truth.

If so, you've come
to the right party.

You see, the body of a young man
was found...

floating in the pool
of her mansion...

with two shots in his back
and one in his stomach.

Nobody important, really.

Just a movie writer with a couple
of pictures to his credit.

The poor dope.
He always wanted a pool.

Well, in the end
he got himself a pool...

only the price turned out to be
a little high.

Let's go back about six months and
find the day when it all started.

I was living in an apartment house
above Franklin and Ivar.

Things were tough at the moment.

I hadn't worked in a studio
for a long time.

So I sat there, grinding out
original stories, two a week.

Only I seemed to have lost my touch.

Maybe they weren't original enough.

Maybe they were too original.

All I know is,
they didn't sell.


- Joseph C. Gillis?
- That's right.

We've come for the car.

What car?

1946 Plymouth convertible,
California license 40-R-116.

Where are the keys?

Why should I give you the keys?

Because the company's
played ball long enough...

because you're three payments behind,
and because we got a court order.

Now, come on. The keys.

Or do you want us to jack it up
and haul it away?

Relax, fans.
The car isn't here.

Oh, is that so?

I loaned it to a friend.
He took it down to Palm Springs.

Had to get away for his health,
I suppose.

If you don't believe me,
look in the garage.

Sure, sure, we believe you.
Only now we want you to believe us!

That car better be here tomorrow
or there's gonna be fireworks.

- You say the cutest things.
- Ha.

Well, I needed about $290...

and I needed it real quick,
or I'd lose my car.

It wasn't in Palm Springs,
and it wasn't in the garage.

I was way ahead
of the finance company.

I knew they'd be coming around,
and I wasn't taking any chances.

So I kept it across the street in a
lot behind Rudy's Shoeshine Parlor.

Rudy never asked any questions
about your finances.

He'd just look at your heels
and know the score.

I had an original story
kicking around Paramount.

My agent told me it was
dead as a doornail.

But I knew a big shot over there
who'd always liked me.

The time had come to take
a little advantage of it.

His name was Sheldrake.

He was a smart producer
with a set of ulcers to prove it.

All right, Gillis, you've got five
minutes. What's your story about?

It's about a baseball player,
a rookie shortstop batting 347.

- Uh-huh.
- Poor kid was mixed up in a holdup.

But he's trying to go straight.
Except some gamblers won't let him.

So they tell the kid he's got to
throw the World Series or else, huh?

More or less, except for the end.
I've got a gimmick that's real good.

Uh-huh. You got a title?

Bases Loaded.
There's a 40-page outline.

Call Readers Department. Find out
what they have on Bases Loaded.

They're pretty hot about it over at
Twentieth, except Zanuck's all wet.

Can you see Ty Power as a shortstop?

You've got the best man for it
right here on this lot. Alan Ladd.

Be a good change of pace for Ladd.
Another thing, it's simple to shoot.

Lots of outdoor stuff. You could
make it all for under a million.

- Excuse me.
- A great part for Bill Demarest...

a trainer, an old-time player who
got beamed, goes out of his head.

Hello, Mr. Sheldrake.

On that Bases Loaded, I covered it
with a two-page synopsis.

- Thank you.
- But I wouldn't bother.

- What's wrong with it?
- It's from hunger.

Nothing for Ladd?

It's just a rehash of something
that wasn't very good to begin with.

I'm sure you'll be glad to meet
Mr. Gillis. He wrote it.

This is Miss Kramer.

The name is Schaefer.
Betty Schaefer.

Right now I wish I could crawl
in a hole and pull it in after me.

If I could be of any help...

Oh, I'm sorry, Mr. Gillis, but I
just didn't think it was any good.

I found it flat and trite.

Exactly what kind of material do you
recommend? James Joyce? Dostoyevsky?

I just think that pictures
should say a little something.

Oh, one of the message kids.
Just a story won't do.

You'd have turned down
Gone With the Wind.

No, that was me. I said, "Who wants
to see a Civil War picture?"

Perhaps I hated it because
I'd always heard you had talent.

That was last year. This year
I'm trying to earn a living.

So you take plot 27-A,
make it glossy, make it slick...

Those are dirty words.
You sound like New York critics.

- That's all, Miss Kramer... Schaefer.
- Good-bye, Mr. Gillis.

Next time I'll write you
The Naked and the Dead.

Well, it seems like Zanuck
has got himself a baseball picture.

I don't want you to think I thought
this would win any Academy Award.

Of course, we're always
looking for a Betty Hutton.

- Do you see it as a Betty Hutton?
- Frankly, no.

Wait. If we made it a girls'
softball team, put in a few numbers.

Might make a cute musical. It Happened
in the Bullpen: Story of a Woman.

Are you trying to be funny?
Because I'm all out of laughs.

I'm over a barrel.
I need a job.

- I haven't got a thing.
- Anything. Additional dialogue.

There's nothing. Honest.

Look, Mr. Sheldrake.

Could you let me have 300 bucks
yourself, as a personal loan?

Could I? Gillis.

Last year somebody talked me
into buying a ranch in the Valley.

So I borrowed the money from the
bank in order to pay for the ranch.

This year I mortgaged the ranch so
I could keep up my life insurance...

so I could borrow on my insurance...

After that
I drove down to headquarters.

That's the way a lot of us
think about Schwab's drugstore.

Kind of a combination office,
kaffee klatch and waiting room.


Waiting for the gravy train.

I got myself ten nickels and started
sending out a general SOS.

Couldn't get hold of my agent,

So then I called a pal of mine,
Artie Green...

an awful nice guy,
an assistant director.

He could let me have 20.

But 20 wouldn't do.

Then I talked to
a couple of yes-men at Metro.

To me they said no.

Finally I located that agent
of mine. The big faker.

Was he out digging up a job
for poor Joe Gillis?

No. He was hard at work in Bel-Air,
making with the golf sticks.

So you need $300.
Of course I could give you $300.

- Only I'm not going to.
- No?

Get this. I'm not just your agent.
It's not the ten percent.

- I'm your friend.
- You are?

Don't you know the finest things
were written on an empty stomach?

Once a talent gets in that Mocambo-
Romanoff rut, you're through.

Forget Romanoff's.
It's the car I'm talkin' about!

If I lose my car, it's like
having my legs cut off.

Greatest thing
that could happen to you.

Now you'll have to sit behind the
typewriter. You'll have to write.

What do you think I've been doin'?
I need $300.

Sweetheart, maybe what you need
is another agent.

As I drove back towards town,
I took inventory of my prospects.

They now added up to exactly zero.

Apparently I just didn't have
what it takes...

and the time had come to wrap up the
whole Hollywood deal and go home.

Maybe if I hocked all my junk I'd
have enough for a bus back to Ohio.

Back to that $35-a-weekjob writing
copy at the Dayton Evening Post...

if it was still open.

Back to the smirking delight
of the whole office.

All right, wise guys. Why don't you
go and take a crack at Hollywood?

Maybe you think
that you could make...


I had landed myself in the driveway
of some big mansion...

that looked run-down and deserted.

At the end of the drive
was a lovely sight indeed...

a great big empty garage
just standing there going to waste.

A perfect place to stash a limping
car with a hot license number.

There was another occupant
in that garage...

an enormous,
foreign-built automobile.

It must have burned up
ten gallons to a mile.

It had a 1932 license.

I figured that's when the owners
had moved out.

And I also figured that I couldn't
go back to my apartment...

now that those bloodhounds
were onto me.

The idea was to get to Artie Green's
and stay there...

until I could make that bus
for Ohio.

Once back in Dayton, I'd drop the
credit boys a picture postcard...

telling them where to pick up
the jalopy.

It was a great big white elephant
of a place...

the kind crazy movie people built
in the crazy '20s.

A neglected house
gets an unhappy look.

This one had it in spades.

It was like that old woman
in Great Expectations...

that Miss Havisham in her rotting
wedding dress and her torn veil...

taking it out on the world
because she'd been given the go-by.

You there!
Why are you so late?

Why have you kept me waiting
so long?

In here.

I just put my car in the garage.
I had a blowout. I thought maybe...

- Go on in.
- Maybe I better take my car and...

Wipe your feet.

Go on.

You're not properly dressed
for the occasion.

- What's the occasion?
- Have him come up, Max.

- Up the stairs.
- Suppose you listen for a minute.

Madame is waiting.

For me?


If you need any help
with the coffin, call me.

This way.

In here.

I put him on my massage table
in front of the fire.

He always liked fires
and poking at them with a stick.

I've decided we'll bury him in the
garden. Any city laws against that?

- I wouldn't know.
- I don't care anyway.

I want a white coffin, and I want it
specially lined with satin.

White or deep pink.

Maybe red. Bright, flaming red.
Let's make it gay.

How much will it be?

I warn you, don't give me a fancy
price just because I'm rich!

Lady, you got the wrong man. I had
some trouble with my car. Flat tire.

I pulled into your garage
until I could get a spare.

I thought this was an empty house.

It is not. Get out.

I'm sorry. And I'm sorry
you lost your friend.

And I don't think red
is the right color.

Wait a minute. Haven't I seen you
before? I know your face.

Get out.
Or shall I call my servant?

You're Norma Desmond!

You used to be in silent pictures.
You used to be big!

I am big.

It's the pictures that got small.


I knew there was
something wrong with them.

They're dead. They're finished.

There was a time when this business
had the eyes of the whole world.

But that wasn't good enough
for them. Oh, no!

They had to have the ears
of the world too.

So they opened their big mouths
and out came talk, talk, talk.

That's where the popcorn business
comes in.

You buy yourself a bag
and plug up your ears.

Look at them in the front offices,
the masterminds!

They took the idols
and smashed them.

The Fairbankses, the Gilberts,
the Valentinos!

And who have we got now?
Some nobodies!

Don't blame me.
I'm not an executive, just a writer.

You are. Writing words,
words, more words!

Well, you've made a rope of words
and strangled this business!

But there's a microphone right there
to catch the last gurgles...

and Technicolor to photograph
the red, swollen tongue!

Shh. You'll wake up the monkey.

Get out! Max!

Next time I'll bring
my autograph album along.

Or maybe a hunk of cement,
and ask for your footprint.

- It's okay. Okay, I'm going.
- Just a minute, you.

- You're a writer, you said.
- Why?

Are you or aren't you?

That's what it says
on my Guild card.

And you have written pictures,
haven't you?

Sure have.
Want a list of my credits?

I want to ask you something.
Come in here.

Last one I wrote was about Okies
in the Dust Bowl.

You'd never know it, because
when it reached the screen...

the whole thing
played on a torpedo boat.

Intimate, isn't it?

The wind gets in that blasted pipe
organ. I ought to have it taken out.

Or teach it a better tune.

Young man, tell me something.

How long is a movie script
these days? I mean how many pages?

Depends on what it is,
a Donald Duck or a Joan of Arc.

This is to be
a very important picture.

I've written it myself.
Took me years.

Looks like enough
for six important pictures.

It's a story of Salome.
I think I'll have DeMille direct it.

DeMille? Uh-huh.

- We made many pictures together.
- And you'll play Salome.

Who else?

Only asking. I didn't know
you were planning a comeback.

I hate that word! It's a return!

A return to the millions who never
forgave me for deserting the screen.

- Fair enough.
- Salome.

What a woman. What a part!

The princess
in love with a holy man.

She dances
the dance of the seven veils.

He rejects her, so she demands
his head on a golden tray...

kissing his cold, dead lips.

They'll love it in Pomona.

They'll love it every place.

Read it. Read the scene just before
she has him killed.

Never let another writer read
your material. He may steal it.

I'm not afraid. Read it.
Max, bring something to drink.

Sit down.
Is there enough light?

I've got 20-20 vision.

I said sit down.

Well, I had
no pressing engagement...

except with those boys
from the finance office...

and she'd mentioned
something to drink.

Why not?

Sometimes it's interesting to see
just how bad writing can be.

This promised to go the limit.

I wondered what a handwriting expert
would make of her childish scrawl.

Max wheeled in some champagne
and some caviar.

Later I found out that Max was the only
other person in that grim Sunset castle.

And I found out
a few other things about him.

As for her, she sat
coiled up like a watch spring...

her cigarette clamped
in a curious holder.

I could sense her eyes on me
from behind those dark glasses...

defying me not to like
what I read.

Or maybe begging me
in her own proud way to like it.

It meant so much to her.

It sure was a cozy setup...

that bundle of raw nerves and Max...

and a dead monkey upstairs...

and the wind wheezing through
that organ once in a while.

Later on, just for comedy relief...

the real guy arrived
with the baby coffin.

It was all done with great dignity.

He must have been
a very important chimp.

The great-grandson
of King Kong maybe.

It got to be 11:00.

I was feeling
a little sick at my stomach...

what with that sweet champagne
and that tripe I'd been reading...

that silly hodgepodge
of melodramatic plots.

However, by then...

I'd started concocting
a little plot of my own.


This is fascinating.

Of course it is.

Maybe it's a little long and maybe
there's some repetitions...

but you're
not a professional writer.

I wrote that with my heart.

Sure you did.

That's what makes it great.

What it needs is maybe
a little more dialogue.

What for? I can say
anything I want with my eyes.

Well, it certainly could use
a pair of shears and a blue pencil.

I will not have it butchered.

Of course not,
but it ought to be organized.

Just an editing job.
You can find somebody.

Who? I'd have to have
somebody I could trust.

When were you born?
I mean what sign of the zodiac?

- I don't know.
- What month?

December 21.

Sagittarius. I like Sagittarians.
You can trust them.

- Thank you.
- I want you to do this work.


I'm busy. I just finished a script,
and I'm doing another assignment.

I don't care.

You know, I'm pretty expensive.
I get 500 a week.

I wouldn't worry about money.
I'll make it worth your while.

Maybe I'd better take the rest
of the script home and read it.

I couldn't let it out of my house.
You'll have to finish it here.

Well, it's getting kind of late.

- Are you married, Mr...
- Name is Gillis. Single.

Where do you live?

Alto Nido Apartments.

There's something wrong
with your car, you said.

There sure is.

- Why shouldn't you stay here?
- I'll come back early tomorrow.

There's a room over the garage.

Max will take you there.


I felt kind of pleased with the way
I'd handled the situation.

I dropped the hook,
and she snapped at it.

My car would be safe below while
I did a patch-up job on the script.

And there should be
plenty of money in it.

This room hasn't been used
for a long time.

It'll never make House Beautiful,
but I guess it's okay for one night.

I made your bed this afternoon.

Thanks. How did you know I was
gonna stay this afternoon?

The bathroom's over there. I put in
some towels, soap and a toothbrush.

Say, she's quite a character,
that Norma Desmond.

She was the greatest of them all.
You wouldn't know. You're too young.

In one week she received
17,000 fan letters.

Men bribed her hairdresser
to get a lock of her hair.

There was a maharaja
who came all the way from India...

to beg one of her silk stockings.

Later he strangled himself
with it.

Well, I sure turned in
to an interesting driveway.

You did, sir.

Good night, sir.

I pegged him
as slightly cuckoo too.

A stroke, maybe.

Come to think of it, the whole
place seemed to be stricken...

with a kind of creeping paralysis...

out of beat with
the rest of the world...

crumbling apart in slow motion.

There was a tennis court... or rather
the ghost of a tennis court...

with faded markings
and a sagging net.

And of course she had a pool.

Who didn't then?

Mabel Normand and John Gilbert must
have swum in it 10, 000 midnights ago.

And Vilma Banky and Rod LaRoque.

It was empty now.

Or was it?

There was something else
going on below.

The last rites
for that hairy old chimp...

with the utmost seriousness...

as if she were laying to rest
an only child.

Was her life really as empty
as that?

It was all very queer.

But queerer things
were yet to come.

That night I had a mixed-up dream.

In it there was an organ grinder.

I couldn't see his face, but the
organ was all draped in black...

and a chimp
was dancing for pennies.

When I opened my eyes,
the music was still there.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. That empty room
over her garage.

Only it wasn't empty anymore.

I'd had a visitor.

Somebody had brought my belongings...
my books, my typewriter, my clothes.

What was going on?

Hey, you! Max, whatever-your-name-is,
what are my things doing here?

I'm talkin' to you! My clothes
and things are up in the room!

I brought them myself.

Is that so?

Why, what's the matter?
Is there anything missing?

Who said you could?
Who asked you to?

I did. I don't know why
you should be so upset.

Stop that playing, Max.

It seemed like a good idea
if we are to work together.

Look, I'm supposed to fix up
your script.

- There's no deal about my staying!
- You'll like it here.

Thanks for the invitation.
I've got my own apartment.

You can't work in an apartment
where you owe three months' rent.

- I'll take care of that.
- It's all taken care of, paid for.

Okay, we'll deduct it
from my salary.

Now, now, don't let's be small about
such matters. We won't keep books.

Max, unpack Mr. Gillis's things.

It is done, Madame.

Well, pack them up again!
I didn't say I was staying!

Suppose you make up your mind.
Do you want this job or don't you?

Yes, I wanted the job.

I wanted the dough, and I wanted
to get out of there as quickly as I could.

I thought if I really got going I could
finish it up in a couple of weeks.

But it wasn't so simple
getting some coherence...

into those
wild hallucinations of hers.

And what made it even tougher was
that she was around all the time...

hovering over me, afraid I'd do
injury to her precious brainchild.

- What's that?
- Just a scene I threw out.

Which scene?

The one where you go to the slave
market. It's better to cut to John...

Cut away from me?

Honestly, it's too much of you.
They don't want you in every scene.

They don't? Then why do they still
write me fan letters every day?

Why do they beg me
for my photographs?

Why? Because they want to see me.
Me! Norma Desmond.

Put it back.


I didn't argue with her.

You don't yell at a sleepwalker.
He may fall and break his neck.

That's it.

She was still sleepwalking along
the giddy heights of a lost career.

Plain crazy when it came to that
one subject, her celluloid self...

the great Norma Desmond.

How could she breathe in that house
so crowded with Norma Desmonds?

More Norma Desmonds.

And still more Norma Desmonds.

It wasn't all work, of course.

Two or three times a week, Max would
haul up that enormous painting...

that had been presented to her by
some Nevada chamber of commerce...

and we'd see a movie,
right in her living room.

So much nicer than going out,
she'd say.

The plain fact was she was afraid
of that world outside.

Afraid it would remind her
that time had passed.

They were silent movies, and Max
would run the projection machine...

which was just as well.

It kept him from giving us an
accompaniment on that wheezing organ.

She'd sit very close to me...

and she smelled of tuberoses,
which is not my favorite perfume...

not by a long shot.

Sometimes as we watched,
she'd clutch my arm or my hand...

forgetting she was my employer.

Just becoming a fan, excited about
that actress up there on the screen.

I guess I don't have to tell you
who the star was.

They were always her pictures.

That's all she wanted to see.

Still wonderful, isn't it?

And no dialogue.

We didn't need dialogue.
We had faces.

There just aren't any faces
like that anymore.

Maybe one, Garbo.

Oh, those idiot producers.

Those imbeciles.

Haven't they got any eyes? Have they
forgotten what a star looks like?

I'll show them.
I'll be up there again, so help me!

Sometimes there'd be
a little bridge game in the house...

at a twentieth of a cent a point.

I'd get half of her winnings.

Once they ran up to 70 cents...

which was about the only cash money
I ever got.

The others around the table
would be actor friends...

dim figures you may still remember
from the silent days.

I used to think of them
as her waxworks.

One diamond.

One heart.



- Three no-trump.
- Pass.


Empty the ashtray, will you,
Joe, dear?

- Some men outside asked for you.
- I'm not here.

- That's what I told them.
- Good.

But they found your car
and they're going to tow it away.

Where's the ashtray?
Joe, can't we have the ashtray?

I want to talk to you for a minute.

Not now, my dear.
I'm playing three no-trump.

They've come for my car.

Please. Now I've forgotten
how many spades are out.

- Look, I need some money right now.
- Can't you wait until I'm dummy?



Now what is it?
Where's the fire?

- I've lost my car.
- Oh!

And I thought it was
a matter of life and death.

It is, to me.
That's why I came to this house.

That's why I took this job

Now you're being silly. We don't
need two cars. We have a car.

Not one of those cheap new things
made of chromium and spit.

An Isotta-Fraschini. Have you
ever heard of Isotta-Fraschini?

All handmade. Cost me $28,000.

So Max got that old bus down
off its blocks and polished it up.

She'd take me for rides
in the hills above Sunset.

The whole thing was upholstered
in leopard skin...

and had one of those car phones,
all gold-plated.

- That's a dreadful shirt.
- What's wrong with it?

Nothing, if you work
in the filling station.

And I'm getting rather bored with
that sport jacket and same baggy pants.

Max, what's a good men's shop?
The very best? Well, go there.

I don't need clothes, and I don't
want you buying them for me.

Why begrudge me a little fun?
I just want you to look nice.

And must you chew gum?

Ah, there's nothing like
blue flannel for a man.

This one, single-breasted,
of course.

Now we need a topcoat. Let me see
what you have in camel's hair.

- How about some evening clothes?
- I don't need a tuxedo.

You do. A tuxedo and tails, and
if you aren't careful, a cutaway.

Tails! That's ridiculous.

You need them for parties.
You need them for New Year's Eve.

- Where are your evening clothes?
- This way, Madame.

Here are some camel's hair,
but I'd like you just to feel this.

It's vicuna. Of course,
it's a little more expensive.

The camel's hair will do.

Well, as long as the lady's paying
for it, why not take the vicuna?

The last week in December,
the rains came.

A great big package of rain...

oversized, like everything else
in California.

It came right through the old roof
of my room above the garage.

She had Max move me
to the main house.

I didn't much like the idea.

The only time I could have
to myself was in that room.

But it was better than sleeping
in a raincoat and galoshes.

Whose room was this?

It was the room of the husband.

Of the husbands, I should say.

Madame has been married
three times.

I guess that's the one
you can see Catalina from.

Only this isn't the day.

Say, what's this with the door?
There isn't any lock.

There are no locks anywhere
in this house, sir.

How come?

There must be a reason.

- The doctor suggested it.
- What doctor?

Madame's doctor.

Madame has moments of melancholy.

There have been
some attempts at suicide.

We have to be very careful.
No sleeping pills, no razor blades.

We shut off the gas
in Madame's bedroom.

Why? Her career?

She got enough out of it.
She's not forgotten.

She still gets those fan letters.

I wouldn't look too closely
at the postmarks.

You send them.
Is that it, Max?

I'd better press
your evening clothes, sir.

Mr. Gillis has not forgotten
Madame's New Year's party?

No, no, I haven't.

I suppose all the waxworks
are coming.

I wouldn't know, sir.
Madame made the arrangements.

There it was again.

That room of hers,
all satin and ruffles.

And that bed,
like a gilded rowboat.

The perfect setting
for a silent movie queen.

Poor devil.

Still waving proudly to a parade
which had long since passed her by.

It was at her New Year's party that
I found out how she felt about me.

Maybe I'd been an idiot
not to have sensed it was coming...

that sad, embarrassing revelation.


You look absolutely divine.

- T urn around.
- Please.

Come on. Perfect.
Wonderful shoulders.

I love that line.

It's all padding.
Don't let it fool you.

To me, getting dressed up was always
just putting on my dark blue suit.

I don't like the stud they sent.
I want you to have a pearl.

A big luscious pearl.

Well, I'm not going to wear
earrings, I can tell you that.

Let's have a drink.

- Shouldn't we wait for the others?
- Max, champagne.

Careful, it's slippery.
I had it waxed.

Here's to us.

This floor used to be wood,
but I had it changed.

Valentino said there's
nothing like tile for a tango.

Come on.

Not on the same floor
with Valentino.

Just follow me.

Don't bend back like that.

It's that thing.
It tickles.

It does?

It's quarter past 10:00. What time
are they supposed to get here?

- Who?
- The other guests.

There are no guests. We don't want
to share this night with others.

This is for you and me.

- Oh?
- Hold me tighter.


Come midnight, how about
blindfolding the orchestra...

and smashing champagne glasses
over Max's head?

You think this is
all very funny.

A little.

An hour dragged by.

I felt caught, like the cigarette
in that contraption on her finger.

What a wonderful next year it's
going to be. What fun we'll have!

I'll fill the pool for you.

I'll open my house in Malibu,
and you can have the whole ocean.

When our picture is finished,
I'll buy you a boat...

and we'll sail to Hawaii...

Stop it. You're not
gonna buy me anything more.

Don't be silly.

Here. I was going to
give it to you at midnight.

Norma, I can't take it.
You've bought me enough.

Shut up. I'm rich.

I'm richer than all this
new Hollywood trash.

- I've got a million dollars.
- Keep it.

I own three blocks downtown.
I've got oil in Bakersfield.

Pumping, pumping, pumping.

What's it for but to buy us
anything we want?

Cut out that "us" business!

What's the matter with you?

What right do you have
to take me for granted?

What right?
Do you want me to tell you?

Has it ever occurred to you
that I may have a life of my own?

That there may be some girl
that I'm crazy about?

Who? Some carhop or dress extra?

What I'm trying to say
is that I'm all wrong for you.

You want a Valentino, somebody
with polo ponies. A big shot.

What you're trying to say is
you don't want me to love you.

Say it.

Say it!

I didn't know where I was going.

I just had to get out of there.

I had to be with people
my own age.

I had to hear somebody laugh again.

I thought of Artie Green.

There was bound to be
a New Year's shindig going on...

in his apartment
down on Las Palmas.

Writers without a job,
composers without a publisher...

actresses so young they still believe
the guys in the casting offices.

A bunch of kids
who didn't give a hoot...

just so long
as they had a yuk to share.

Hollywood for us
ain't been so good

Got no swimming pool
Very few clothes

All we earn are buttons and bows

- Hello, Joe.
- How are you, Joe?

- Welcome to the party.
- Hi, Joe.

- What do you know! Joe Gillis!
- Hi, Artie.

Where you been keeping
that gorgeous face of yours?

- In a deep freeze.
- I almost reported you as missing.

Fans, you all know Joe Gillis,
the well-known screenwriter...

uranium smuggler
and Black Dahlia suspect.

- Come on, gimme your coat.
- Let it ride for a while.

- You're gonna stay, aren't you?
- That was the general idea.

Well, come on.

What is this, mink?

Judas H. Priest!

Who did you borrow that from?
Adolphe Menjou?

Close, but no cigar.

You're not really a smuggler,
are you?

- Where's the bar?
- Come on.

- It's a good party.
- The greatest.

They call me the Elsa Maxwell
of the assistant directors.

Hey, wait a minute.
Go easy on that punch bowl.

Budget only calls for three drinks
per extra. Fake the rest.

Say, Artie, can I
stick around here for a while?

This will go on all night.

No, I mean can you put me up
for a couple of weeks?

It just so happens
we have a vacancy on the couch.

- I'll take it.
- The bellhop can take your luggage.

Just register it here.

- Hello, Mr. Gillis.
- Hello.

- You know each other?
- Let me help you.

Betty Schaefer, Sheldrake's office.

Oh, sure. Bases Loaded.

Wait. This is the woman I love.
What's going on? Who was loaded?

Don't worry. She's just a fan
for my literary output.

- Hurt feelings department.
- Where's the phone?

Over by the rainbow room.

Say, when you're through with
that thing, can I have it?

Hey, you forgot this.

- Thanks.
- I've been hoping to run into you.

What for? To recover that knife
you stuck in my back?

No, I felt a little guilty, so
I got out some of your old stories.

Why, you sweet kid.

There's one called Window,
something with a window.

- Dark Windows. How'd you like it?
- I didn't.

- Thank you.
- Except for about six pages.

You've got a flashback there...

Is there someplace we can talk?

How about the rainbow room?

Hey. I said you could have my couch.
I didn't say you could have my girl.

Oh, this is shop talk.

Now, if I got you correctly, there
was a short stretch of my fiction...

which you found worthy of notice.

The flashback scene in the courtroom
when she tells about being a teacher.

I had a teacher like that once.

Maybe that's why it's good.
It's true. It's moving.

- Why don't you use that character...
- Who wants true? Who wants moving?

Drop that attitude!
Here's something really worthwhile.

Want me to start right away?
Maybe there's some paper around.

- I'm serious. I've got a few ideas.
- I've got a few ideas of my own.

One being this is New Year's Eve.
How about living it up a little?

- As for instance?
- Well...

We could make some paper boats
and have a regatta.

Or we could turn on the shower
full blast.

How about capturing the kitchen
and barricading the door?

- Are you hungry?
- Hungry?

After 12 years in the Burmese
jungle, I'm starving, Lady Agatha.

Starving for a white shoulder...

Phillip, you're mad!

Thirsting for the coolness
of your lips.

You can have the phone now.

No, Phillip, no.
We must be strong.

You're still wearing the uniform
of the Cold stream Guards.

you can have the phone now.


Suddenly I find myself
terribly afraid of losing you.

You won't. I'll get us a refill
of this horrible liquid.

- You'll be waiting for me?
- With a wildly beating heart.

Life can be beautiful.

Hello, Max. This is Mr. Gillis.
I want you to do me a favor.

I'm sorry, Mr. Gillis.
I cannot talk now.

Yes, you can. Get my old suitcase
and put in all my old clothes.

And my typewriter.
I'll have somebody pick them up.

I have no time to do anything now.
The doctor is here.

What doctor?
What's going on?

Madame got the razor from your room,
and she cut her wrists.


I just got the recipe. You take
two packages of cough drops...

and dissolve in one gallon
of lukewarm grape juice...

Hey, Joe!

Happy New Year!

- How is she?
- She's up in her room.

Be careful. Don't race upstairs.

The musicians mustn't know
what happened.

Go away.

What kind of a silly thing
was that to do?

To fall in love with you,
that was the idiotic thing.

It sure would have made
attractive headlines.

"Great Star Kills Herself
for Unknown Writer."

Great stars have great pride.

Go away.

Go to that girl of yours.

Look, I was making that up...

because I thought the whole thing
was a mistake.

I didn't want to hurt you.
You've been good to me.

You're the only person in this
stinking town that has been good to me.

Why don't you just
say thank you and go? Go, go!

Not until you promise to act
like a sensible human being.

I'll do it again.
I'll do it again.

I'll do it again.

Happy New Year, Norma.

Happy New Year, darling.


Is this Crestview 5-1733?

I'm sorry to bother you again,
but I've confirmed the number.

I must speak to Mr. Gillis.

He's not here.

Where can I reach him?
Maybe somebody else could tell me...

Nobody here can give you
any information.

And you will please not call again.

Who was it, Max?
What is it?

Nothing, Madame.

Somebody inquiring
about a stray dog.

Our number must be very similar
to the number of the pound.

Wait a minute.
I want you to get out the car.

Take the script to Paramount and
deliver it to Mr. DeMille in person.

Very good, Madame.

- You really sending it to DeMille?
- Yes, I am.

This is the day.

Here's the chart from my astrologer.
She read my horoscope and DeMille's.

She read the script?

DeMille is Leo. I'm Scorpio.
Mars has been transiting Jupiter.

Today is the day
of the greatest conjunction.

Turn around, darling.
Let me dry you.

I hope you realize that scripts
don't sell on astrologers' charts.

I'm not just selling the script,
I'm selling me.

DeMille always said
I was his greatest star.

When did he say it, Norma?

All right, it was
quite a few years ago.

The point is,
I never looked better in my life.

You know why? Because I've
never been as happy in my life.

A few evenings later we were going to
the house of one of the waxworks...

for some bridge.

She'd taught me
how to play bridge by then...

just as she'd taught me
some fancy tango steps...

and what wine to drink
with what fish.

That idiot. He forgot
to fill my cigarette case.

Here, have one of mine.

They're dreadful.
They make me cough.

Pull up to the drugstore, Max.
I'll get you some.

You're a darling.

Give me a package
of those Turkish cigarettes...


Stick 'em up, Gillis.

Stick 'em up,
or I'll let you have it.

Hi, Artie.
Evening, Miss Schaefer.

- I'm so glad to see you.
- Walking out on the mob.

- What's the big idea?
- I'm sorry about New Year's.

Would you believe me if I told you
I stayed with a sick friend?

Someone in the formal set, no doubt,
with a ten-carat kidney stone.

Oh, stop it, Artie, will you?

Where have you been keeping yourself?
I've got wonderful news for you.

I haven't been keeping myself
at all. Not lately.

I called your agent,
I called the Screenwriters Guild.

Finally your old apartment
gave me some Crestview number.

Somebody with an accent
growling at me.

You weren't there. You weren't to be
spoken to. They never heard of you.

Is that so?

- What's the wonderful news?
- Sheldrake likes the teacher angle.

- What teacher?
- Dark Windows.

I got him all hopped up about it.
He thinks it could be made into something.

Okay, where's the cash?

Where's the story?

I bluffed it out
with a few notions of my own.

- It needs work.
- I was afraid of that.

I've got 20 pages of notes and
a pretty good character for the man.

Write in plenty
of background action...

so they'll need
an extra assistant director.

Oh, Artie, shut up.

- If we could sit down for 2 weeks...
- I'm sorry, Miss Schaefer.

- I've given up writing on spec.
- But this is half sold.

As a matter of fact,
I've given up writing altogether.

Mr. Gillis.

- If you please.
- I'll be right there.

The accent. I get it. This guy's
in the pay of a foreign government.

Check those studs.
Get those cuff links.

I've got to run along. Thanks anyway
for your interest in my career.

It's not your career, it's mine.
I'd hoped to get in on this deal.

I don't want to be a reader
all my life. I want to write.

- I'm sorry if I crossed you up.
- You sure have.

So long.

What on earth, darling?
It took you hours.

I ran into some people I know.

- Where are my cigarettes?
- Where are your...

Norma, you're smoking too much.

Whenever she suspected
I was getting bored...

she would put on
a live show for me...

the Norma Desmond Follies.

Her first number was always
the Mack Sennett bathing beauty.

I can still see myself
in the line.

Marie Prevost, Mabel Normand.

Mabel was always
stepping on my feet.

What's the matter with you,

Why are you so glum?

Nothing's the matter.
I'm having a great time.

- Show me some more.
- All right.

Give me this.
I need it for a mustache.

Now close your eyes.
Close them.

Something was the matter,
all right.

I was thinking about
that girl of Artie's...

that Miss Schaefer.

She was so like all us writers
when we first hit Hollywood...

itching with ambition...

panting to get
your names up there.

Screenplay by.
Original story by.

Audiences don't know somebody
sits down and writes a picture.

They think the actors
make it up as they go along.

Open your eyes.

Madame is wanted
on the telephone.

You know better
than to interrupt me.

- Paramount is calling.
- Who?

Paramount studios.

Now do you believe me?

I told you DeMille
would jump at it.

It is not Mr. DeMille
in person.

It is someone called Gordon Cole.
He says it is very important.

Certainly it's important.

It's important enough for
Mr. DeMille to call me personally.

The very idea of having
some assistant call me!

Say I'm busy and hang up!

Very good, Madame.

How do you like that?

We've made 12 pictures together.
His greatest successes!

Maybe he's busy shooting.

I know that trick!

He's trying to belittle me.
He's trying to get my price down.

I've waited 20 years
for this call.

Now DeMille can wait
until I'm good and ready!

About three days later
she was good and ready.

Incredible as it may seem...

there had been some more of those
urgent calls from Paramount.

So she put on about a half pound of
makeup, fixed it up with a veil...

and set forth
to see DeMille in person.

Madame will pardon me.

The shadow over the left eye
is not quite balanced.

Thank you, Max.

Hold that noise!

To see Mr. DeMille.
Open the gate.

Mr. DeMille is shooting.
You got an appointment?

No appointment necessary.

I'm bringing Norma Desmond.

Norma who?

Norma Desmond!

Jonesy! Hey, Jonesy!


Why, if it isn't Miss Desmond!

How have you been,
Miss Desmond?

Open the gate.

Sure, Miss Desmond.
Come on, Mac.

They can't drive on the lot
without a pass.

Miss Desmond can.
Come on.

- Where's Mr. DeMille shooting?
- Stage 18, Miss Desmond.

Thank you, Jonesy.

And teach your friend
some manners.

Without me
he wouldn't have any job...

because without me there
wouldn't be any Paramount studio.

You're right, Miss Desmond.

Go on, Max.

Stage 18.

All right,
notify Henry Wilcoxon.

Just clear a minute. Spread
that thing out so I can see it.

Keep quiet back there.

Norma Desmond's coming in
to see Mr. DeMille.

Hit that with a light, somebody,
so I can get a look at that cape.

Back up a little bit.

Soldier, get out of the way.
You fellows in the back there.

Norma Desmond's coming in
to see Mr. DeMille.

Norma Desmond?

Wait a minute.

Henry Wilcoxon, draw your sword
and raise that drape with it.

Samson's lying unconscious
over here.

Norma Desmond is coming in
to see you, Mr. DeMille.

- Norma Desmond?
- She must be a million years old.

I hate to think
where that puts me.

- I could be her father.
- I'm very sorry, Mr. DeMille.

It must be about
that awful script of hers.

What can I tell her?
What can I say?

I'll say you're tied up in the projection room.
I'll give her the brush.

Thirty million fans have given her
the brush. Isn't that enough?

- I didn't mean to...
- No, of course you didn't.

You didn't know Norma Desmond
as a lovely little girl of 17...

with more courage
and wit and heart...

than ever came together
in one youngster.

I understand she was
a terror to work with.

Only toward the end.

You know, a dozen press agents
working overtime...

can do terrible things
to the human spirit.

Hold everything.

- Don't you want to come along?
- I don't think so.

It's your script, it's your show.
Good luck.

Thank you, dearest.

Well, hello, young fella.

- Hello, Mr. DeMille.
- It's good to see you.

The last time I saw you
was someplace very gay.

I remember waving to you.
I was dancing on a table.

A lot of people were.
Lindbergh had just landed in Paris.

Come on in.

Norma, I must apologize
for not calling you.

You'd better.
I'm very angry.

Well, you can see
I'm terribly busy.

That's no excuse.
You read the script, of course.

Yes, I did.

Then you could've picked up
the telephone yourself...

instead of leaving it
to one of your assistants.

- What assistant?
- Now, don't play innocent.

Somebody named Gordon Cole.

Gordon Cole?

And if you hadn't been pretty
darn interested in that script...

he wouldn't have tried to
get me on the telephone ten times.

Gordon Cole.

Norma, I'm in the middle
of a rehearsal.

Why don't you sit here in my chair
and make yourself comfortable.

- Thank you.
- That's a girl.

I won't be a moment.

Bring me a telephone...

and get me Gordon Cole.

Hey! Miss Desmond!

It's me! It's Hog-Eye!

Hello, Hog-Eye.

Let's get a good look at you.

Look. There's Norma Desmond.

Norma Desmond!

- Norma Desmond!
- Why, I thought she was dead.

How nice to see you.

Welcome home, Miss Desmond.
You remember me, don't you?

- Doesn't she look wonderful?
- Hello, Bessy.

Mr. Wilcoxon,
have you met Miss Desmond?

It's a great pleasure.

Gordon, this is C.B. DeMille.

Have you been calling
Norma Desmond?

Yes, Mr. DeMille.

It's that car of hers,
an old Isotta-Fraschini.

Her chauffeur drove it on the lot
the other day.

It looks just right
for the Crosby picture.

We want to rent it.

Oh, I see.


thank you very much.


turn that light
back where it belongs.

I got hold of Gordon Cole.

Did you see them?
Did you see how they came?

You know, some crazy things
happen in this business, Norma.

I hope you haven't lost
your sense of humor.

What's the matter, dear?


I just didn't realize what it would
be like to come back to the studio.

I had no idea
how much I missed it.

We've missed you too, dear.

We'll work again, won't we, Chief?
We'll make our greatest picture.

- That's why I want to talk to you.
- It's a good script, isn't it?

Well, it has
some good things in it, yes.

But it'd be
a very expensive picture.

I don't care about the money.
I just want to work again.

You don't know what it means
to know that you want me.

Nothing would please me more,
Norma, if...

if it were possible.

And remember, I don't work
before 10:00 in the morning...

and never after 4:30
in the afternoon.

We're ready for the shot,
Mr. DeMille.

All right.

Norma, why don't you
just sit here and watch.

You know, pictures
have changed quite a bit.

All right, let's go.

Hit 'em all!

Roll 'em.


You see those offices there,
Mr. Gillis?

They used to be
Madame's dressing room.

The whole row.

That didn't leave much
for Wallace Reid.

Oh, he had a great big
bungalow on wheels.

I had the upstairs.

You see where it says
"Readers Department"?

I remember my walls were covered
with black patent leather.

I'll be with you in a minute.

Here's that funny car
Gordon Cole was talking about.

- Yeah.
- Mind if we look it over?

What's so funny about it?

Just so you don't think
I'm a complete swine...

if there's anything in Dark Windows
you can use, it's all yours.

For heaven's sakes!
Come on in, have a chair.

I mean it.
It's no good to me anyway.

- Help yourself.
- Why should you do that?

If you get 100,000 for it,
buy me some chocolate creams.

If you get an Oscar,
I get the left foot.

I'd take you up on that.

I'm just not good enough
to do it all by myself.

What about all your ideas?

Well, see if they make sense.

To begin with, you should throw out
all that psychological mess...

exploring a killer's sick mind.

Psychopaths sell like hotcakes.

This is a story about teachers...
their threadbare lives and struggles.

I see her teaching day classes
while he teaches night school.

The first time they meet...

I haven't time to listen
to the whole plot.

- I'll make it short.
- I'm sorry. It's your baby now.

Couldn't we work in the evenings?
Six o'clock in the morning?

This next month
I'm completely at your disposal.

- Artie's out of town.
- What's Artie got to do with it?

We're engaged.

Oh. Well, good for you.

- You couldn't find a nicer guy.
- That's what I think.

They're on location in Arizona
making a Western.

I'm free every evening
and every weekend.

We could work at your place
if you want.

Look, Betty, it can't be done.

Now stop being chicken-hearted
and write that story.

- Honest to goodness, I hate you.
- And don't make it too dreary.

How about this? She teaches daytimes,
he teaches at night, right?

They don't even know each other,
but they share the same room.

It's cheaper that way. As a matter
of fact, they sleep in the same bed.

In shifts, of course.

Are you kidding?
Because I think it's good.

- So do I.
- Let me show you where it fits in.

So long.

Oh, you!

What's the matter?

I just found out the reason for all
those phone calls from Paramount.

It's not Madame they want.

It's her car they want to rent.


Well, good-bye, Norma.
We'll see what we can do.

I'm not worried.
Everything'll be fine.

The old team together again.
Nothing can stop us.

The old team. Yeah.

- Good-bye, dear.
- Good-bye, Mr. DeMille.

- How'd it go?
- It couldn't have gone better.

It's practically set.

He has to finish this picture first,
but mine will be his next.

Get Gordon Cole.

Tell him to forget
about her car.

Tell him he can get
another old car someplace.

I'll buy him five old cars,
if necessary.

After that...

an army of beauty experts invaded
her house on Sunset Boulevard.

She went through
a merciless series of treatments.

Like an athlete training
for the Olympic Games...

she counted every calorie...

went to bed every night
at 9:00.

She was absolutely determined
to be ready...

ready for those cameras
that would never turn.

- Joe, darling, are you there?
- Yes, Norma.

Don't turn around.
Keep your eyes on the book.

I just came to say good night.

I don't want you to see me.
I'm not very attractive.

- Good night.
- I've lost half a pound since Tuesday.


I was worried about
the line on my throat.

- This woman's done wonders with it.
- Good.

Better get to bed yourself.

I think I'll read
a little longer.

You went out last night,
didn't you, Joe?

- Why do you say that?
- I happen to know it.

I had a nightmare and screamed for you.
You weren't here. Where were you?

- I went for a walk.
- No, you didn't. You took the car.

All right,
I drove to the beach.

You don't want me to feel
I'm locked up in this house.

Of course not, Joe.

I just don't want to be left alone
while I'm under this terrible strain.

My nerves
are being torn to shreds.

All I ask is for you to be
a little patient and a little kind.

I haven't done anything.

Of course you haven't.

I wouldn't let you.

Good night, darling.


I was playing hooky
every evening along in there.

It made me think of when I was 12
and used to sneak out on the folks...

to see a gangster picture.

This time it wasn't
to see a picture...

it was to try and write one.

That story of mine Betty had dug up
kept going through my head...

Like a dozen locomotives.

So we started working on it,
the two of us...

nights when the studio
was deserted...

up in her little cubbyhole
of an office.

I got the funniest letter
from Artie.

It's rained every day
since they got to Arizona.

They rewrote the whole picture
for rain and shot half of it.

Now the sun is out.
Nobody knows when they'll get back.

- Good.
- What's good about it?

I miss him something fierce.

I mean, this is good dialogue here.
It'll play.

- It will?
- Sure.

Especially with lots of music
underneath, drowning it out.

Don't you sometimes
hate yourself?


No, in all seriousness,
this is really good.

It's fun writing with you.

Well, thanks.

Who's Norma?

Who's who?

I'm sorry. I don't usually
read private cigarette cases.

Oh, that.

It's from a friend of mine.

A middle-aged lady.

Very foolish and very generous.

I'll say.
This is solid gold.

I gave her some advice
on an idiotic script.

Oh, the old familiar story.

You help a timid little soul
cross a crowded street.

She turns out to be
a multimillionaire...

and leaves you all her money.

That's the trouble with you
readers... you know all the plots.

Suppose you proofread page ten
while the water boils.

- Okay?
- Okay.

when we got stuck...

we'd make a little tour
of the drowsing lot.

Not talking much...

just wandering down alleys
between the soundstages...

or through the sets they were getting
ready for the next day's shooting.

As a matter of fact...

it was on one of those walks when
she first told me about her nose.

Look at this street.

All cardboard, all hollow,
all phony, all done with mirrors.

You know, I like it better
than any street in the world.

Maybe because I used to play here
when I was a kid.

What were you,
a child actress?

No, I was born just two blocks
from this studio...

right on Lemon Grove Avenue.

My father was head electrician here
till he died.

- Mother still works in wardrobe.
- Second generation, huh?

Third. Grandma did stunt work
for Pearl White.

I come from a picture family.

Naturally they expected me
to become a great star...

so I had ten years of dramatic
lessons, diction, dancing.

Then the studio made a test.
Well, they didn't like my nose.

Slanted this way a little.

So I had it fixed.

They made more tests,
and they were crazy about my nose.

Only they didn't like my acting.

- Nice job.
- It should be.

It cost me $300.

That's the saddest thing
I ever heard.

Not at all.
It taught me a little sense.

I got a job in the mail room,
and now I'm a reader.

Come clean, Betty.

At night you weep for those lost
close-ups, those gala openings.

Not once. What's wrong with being
on the other side of the cameras?

It's really more fun.

Three cheers for Betty Schaefer.

- I will now kiss that nose of yours.
- If you please.

May I say
that you smell real special?

Must be my new shampoo.

That's no shampoo.

It's more like freshly laundered
linen handkerchiefs...

Like a brand-new automobile.

- How old are you, anyway?
- Twenty-two.

Smart girl.

Nothing like being 22.

And may I suggest that if we're
ever to finish this story...

you stay at least
two feet away from me.

The first time I come any closer,
clunk me on the head with a shoe.

Now back to the typewriters...

by way of Washington Square.

What is it, Max?

Want to wash the car?

Or are you doing a little spying
in your off hours?

You must be very careful
as you cross the patio.

Madame may be watching.

Will going up the kitchen stairs
and undressing in the dark do it?

I'm not inquiring
where Mr. Gillis goes every night.

Why don't you?

I'm writing a script...

and I'm gonna finish it
no matter what.

It is just that I am
greatly worried about Madame.

Sure, you are.

And we're not helping her any...

feeding her lies and more lies,
getting herself ready for a picture.

What happens
when she finds out?

She never will.

That is my job,
and it has been for a long time.

You must understand...

I discovered her
when she was 16.

I made her a star...

and I cannot let her
be destroyed.

You made her a star?


I directed
all her early films.

There were three young directors
who showed promise in those days...

D.W. Griffith...

Cecil B. DeMille...

and Max Von Mayerling.

And she's turned you
into a servant.

It was I who asked to come back,
humiliating as it may seem.

I could have continued my career.

Only I found everything unendurable
after she had left me.

You see...

I was her first husband.

You're here, Joe.

When did you come home?

Oh, Joe, where were you?

Is it a woman?

I know it's a woman.
Who is she?

Why can't I ask you?

I must know.

What's the matter?

Betty, wake up. Why are you
staring at me like that?

Oh, was I?
I'm sorry.

What's wrong with you tonight?

What is it?

Something came up.
I don't want to talk about it.

Why not?

I just don't.

What have you heard?

Come on, let's have it.

Is it about me?

There's no use
running out on it.

Let's face it,
whatever it is.

I got a telegram from Artie.

From Artie?

What's wrong?

He wants me
to come on to Arizona.

He says it only costs two dollars
to get married there.

It would kind a save us
a honeymoon.

Well, why don't you?

We can finish the script
by Thursday.

Stop crying. You're getting married.
That's what you wanted.

I don't want it now.

- Why not? Don't you love Artie?
- Of course I love him.

I always will.

I'm not in love with him
anymore, that's all.

What happened?

You did.

It wasn't until I got back
to that peculiar prison of mine...

that I started facing the facts.

There it was.

Betty Schaefer's future
right in the palm of my hand.

Betty Schaefer,
engaged to Artie Green...

as nice a guy as ever lived...

and she was in love with me.


She was a fool not to sense there
was something phony in my setup...

and I was a heel
not to have told her.

But you just can't say those things
to somebody you're crazy about.

Maybe I'd never have to.

Maybe I could get away with it,
get away from Norma.

Maybe I could wipe the whole
nasty mess right out of my life.

Is this Gladstone 9-2-8- 1?

May I speak
to Miss Betty Schaefer?

She must be home by now.

Here's that
weird-sounding woman again.

Well, what is this, anyway?

This is Betty Schaefer.

You must forgive me
for calling you so late...

but I really feel
it's my duty.

It's about Mr. Gillis.
You do know Mr. Gillis.

Exactly how much
do you know about him?

Do you know where he lives?

Do you know how he lives?

Do you know what he lives on?

Who are you?

What do you want?
What business is it of yours?

Miss Schaefer...

I'm trying to do you a favor.

I'm trying to spare you
a great deal of misery.

But you may be too young to even
suspect there are men of his sort.

I don't know what he's told you,
but he does not live with relatives.

Nor with friends,
in the usual sense of the word.

Well, ask him.

Ask him again.

That's right, Betty.
Ask me again.

This is Joe.

Where are you?
What is this all about?

Or better yet, why don't you
come out and see for yourself.

The address is 10086...

Sunset Boulevard.

Don't hate me, Joe.

I did it because I need you.

I need you as I've
never needed you before.

Look at me.

Look at my hands.
Look at my face.

Look under my eyes.

How can I go back to work if
I'm wasting away under this torment?

You don't know what I've been
through these last weeks.

I bought myself a revolver.
I did.

I stood in front of that mirror,
but I couldn't make myself do it.

Don't just stand there
hating me!

Shout at me!

Strike me,
but don't hate me!

Say you don't hate me, Joe!

Here's 10079, Connie.

It must be over there.

Betty, let me come along
with you, please.

No, I'll be all right.

What are you gonna do, Joe?
What are you gonna do?

It's all right, Max.
I'll take it.

Hello, Betty.

I don't know why
I'm so scared, Joe.

- Is it something awful?
- Come on in.

Ever been in one of these
old Hollywood palazzos?

That's from when they were
making 18,000 a week and no taxes.

Careful of these tiles.
They're slippery.

Valentino used to dance here.

- Is this where you live?
- You bet.

- Whose house is it?
- Hers.

- Whose?
- Just look around.

There's a lot of her
spread about.

If you don't remember the face,
you must've heard the name...

Norma Desmond?

That was Norma Desmond
on the phone?

Would you like a drink?
There's always champagne on ice.

Plenty of caviar.

- Why did she call me?
- Jealous.

Did you ever see so much junk?

She had the ceiling
brought from Portugal.

And look at this.

Her own movie theater.

I didn't come here
to see a house.

What about Norma Desmond?

That's what
I'm trying to tell you.

This is an enormous place.

Eight master bedrooms.

A sunken tub in every bathroom.

There's a bowling alley
in the cellar.

It's lonely here...

so she got herself
a companion.

Very simple setup.

Older woman who's well-to-do.

Younger man
who's not doing too well.

- Can you figure it out yourself?
- No.

I'll give you
a few more clues.


I haven't heard any of this.

I never got those phone calls,
and I've never been in this house.

Now get your things together
and let's get out of here.

All my things?

All my 18 suits
and my custom-made shoes...

and the six-dozen shirts
and cuff links...

and the platinum key chains
and the cigarette cases?

Come on, Joe.

Come on where?

Back to a one-room apartment
I can't pay for?

Back to a story that may sell
and very possibly will not?

If you love me, Joe...

Look, sweetie, be practical.

I've got a good deal here.

A long-term contract
with no options.

I like it that way.

Maybe it's not very admirable.


you and Artie can be admirable.

I can't look at you
anymore, Joe.

How about looking for the exit?

This way, Betty.

Good luck to you, Betty.

You can finish that script
on the way to Arizona.

When you and Artie get back, if you
two ever feel like taking a swim...

here's the pool.

Thank you, darling.

Thank you, Joe.

May I come in, Joe?

I've stopped crying.

I'm all right again.

Tell me you're not cross.

Tell me everything
is just as it was, Joe.

What are you doing, Joe?

What are you doing?

I'm packing.

You're leaving me.

Yes, I am, Norma.

No, you're not.

Max! Max!

Thanks for letting me
wear the handsome wardrobe...

and thanks for the use
of all the trinkets.

The rest of the jewelry's
in the top drawer.

- It's yours, Joe. I gave it to you.
- And I'd take it in a second.

Only it's too dressy for sitting
behind a copy desk in Dayton, Ohio.

These are nothing!

You can have anything you want.
What is it you want?


Norma, you'd be throwing it away.

I don't qualify for the job.
Not anymore.

You can't go!

Max! Max!

I can't face life without you.

And you know
I'm not afraid to die.

That's between you and yourself.

You think I made that up about
the gun, don't you? All right.


You didn't believe me. Now I suppose
you don't think I have the courage.

Oh, sure, if it would
make a good scene.

You don't care, do you? But hundreds
of thousands of people will care!

Oh, wake up, Norma. You'd be
killing yourself to an empty house.

The audience left
20 years ago.

- That's a lie! They still want me!
- No, they don't!

What about DeMille?

He was trying
to spare your feelings.

The studio only wanted
to rent your car.

Wanted what?

DeMille didn't have the heart to
tell you. None of us has had the heart.

That's a lie.
They want me.

I get letters every day.

You tell her, Max.

Do her that favor. Tell her there
isn't going to be any picture.

There aren't any fan letters
except the ones you write.

That isn't true!


Madame is the greatest star
of them all.

I will take Mr. Gillis's bags
to the car.

You heard him.

I'm a star.

Norma, you're a woman of 50.
Now grow up.

There's nothing tragic
about being 50...

not unless you try to be 25.

I'm the greatest star
of them all.

Good-bye, Norma.

No one ever leaves a star.

That's what makes one a star.

Stars are ageless...

aren't they?

Well, this is where you came in.

Back at that pool again...

the one I always wanted.

It's dawn now, and they must have
photographed me a thousand times.

Then they got some pruning hooks
from the garden and fished me out...

ever so gently.

Funny how gentle people get with you
once you're dead.

They beached me
like a harpooned baby whale...

and started
to check the damage...

just for the record.

By this time
the whole joint was jumping...

cops, reporters,
neighbors, passersby.

As much hoop-de-doo
as we get in Los Angeles...

when they open a supermarket.

Even the newsreel guys
came roaring in.

Here was an item everybody
could have some fun with.

The heartless so-and-sos.

What would they do to Norma?

Even if she got away with it
in court...

crime of passion,
temporary insanity...

those headlines would kill her.

"Forgotten Star a Slayer:"

"Aging Actress:"

"Yesterday's Glamour Queen:"

Coroner's office?

I want to speak to the coroner.

Who's on this phone?

I am! Now get off.
This is more important.

Times city desk?
Hedda Hopper speaking.

I'm talking from the bedroom
of Norma Desmond.

Don't bother with a rewrite.
Take it direct.


As day breaks
over the murder house...

Norma Desmond,
famous star of yesteryear...

is in a state
of complete mental shock.

A curtain of silence
seems to have fallen around her.

She sits in the silken boudoir
of her house on Sunset Boulevard...

Was it a sudden quarrel? Did you ever
have any trouble between you before?

If it was a quarrel,
how come this gun was right there?

This guy... Where did you meet him
for the first time?

Where did he come from?
Who is he?

Did you hate him?

Had you ever thought of
doing something like this before?

Was theft involved?

Did you catch him stealing,
or find he had stolen something?

Newsreel men are here
with the cameras.

Tell them to go fly a kite.
This is no time for cameras.

Now, Miss Desmond, is there
anything you want to tell us?


What is it, Max?

The cameras have arrived.

They have?

Tell Mr. DeMille
I'll be on the set at once.

What is this?

Well, it's one way
to get her downstairs.

Let's have the car right outside.


Everything will be ready, Madame.

Thank you, Max.

You'll pardon me, gentlemen...

but I must get ready
for my scene.

- What's happening up there?
- Why did she do it?

Is there a confession?

- Everything set up, gentlemen?
- Just about.

- Lights ready?
- All set.

Quiet, everybody!


Are you ready, Norma?

What is the scene?

Where am I?

This is the staircase
of the palace.

Oh, yes.


Down below...

they're waiting
for the princess.

I'm ready.

All right.



So they were turning after all,
those cameras.

Life, which can be
strangely merciful...

had taken pity on Norma Desmond.

The dream she had clung to
so desperately...

had enfolded her.

I can't go on with the scene.
I'm too happy.

Mr. DeMille, do you mind
if I say a few words?

Thank you.

I want to tell you all how happy
I am to be back in the studio...

making a picture again!

You don't know how much
I've missed all of you.

And I promise you
I'll never desert you again.

Because after Salome
we'll make another picture...

and another picture!

You see, this is my life.

It always will be.

There's nothing else.

Just us...

and the cameras...

and those wonderful people
out there in the dark.

All right, Mr. DeMille,
I'm ready for my close-up.