Sunset Blvd. (1950) Script

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 newspapermen.

A murder has been reported from one of those great big houses in the 10,000 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 B 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 40R-116.

Where are the keys?

Why should I give you the keys?

Because the company's played ball with you 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 of mine. 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 back here by noon tomorrow or there's gonna be fireworks.

You say the cutest things.

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 parking 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.

And 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 that's batting .347.

Poor kid was once mixed up in a holdup.

But he's trying to go straight.

Except there are a bunch of gamblers that won't let him.

So they tell the poor 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 I think 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.

And there's another thing. It's pretty simple to shoot.

Lots of outdoor stuff.

I bet you could make the whole thing for under a million.

Excuse me.

And there's a great little part for Bill Demarest, one of the trainers, an old-time player who got beaned, goes out of his head sometimes.

Hello, Mr. Sheldrake. Hello.

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.

And 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 the reason I hated Bases Loaded is that I knew your name.

I'd always heard that you had some 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 a bunch of New York critics.

That'll be all, Miss Kramer... Schaefer. Goodbye, Mr. Gillis.

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

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

Mr. Sheldrake, I don't want you to think I thought this was going to win any Academy Award.

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

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

Now wait a minute. 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.

Any kind of an assignment. Additional dialog.

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 to pay for the ranch.

This year I had to mortgage 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, kaffeeklatsch and waiting room.

Waiting. Waiting for the gravy train.

I got myself 10 nickels and started sending out a general SOS.

Couldn't get hold of my agent, naturally.

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?

Gillis, get this through your head. I'm not just your agent. It's not the 10%.

I'm your friend. You are?

Don't you know the finest things in the world have been written on an empty stomach?

Once a talent like yours gets into that Mocambo-Romanoff rut, you're through.

Forget Romanoffs. It's the car I'm talking 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. Now you'll have to write.

What do you think I've been doing? 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 there'd be enough for a bus ticket back to Ohio.

Back to that $35-a-week job behind the copy desk at the Dayton Evening Post, if it was still open.

Back to the smirking delight of the whole office.

"All right, you wise guys. Why don't you go out 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.

If ever there was a place to stash away 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 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.

Look, maybe I'd better take my car and get it off...

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 to me for just 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 made up my mind we'll bury him in the garden.

Any city laws against that?

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

I want the coffin to be white, 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. A 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 in this business when they had the eyes of the whole wide 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!

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.


We made a lot of 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 of people who have never forgiven 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, bad writing can be.

This promised to go the limit.

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

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 dialog.

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 due on 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.

Oh, no! 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? Hollywood. Alto Nido Apartments.

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

There sure is.

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

Nonsense. There's a room over the garage.

Max will take you there. Max!

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

I dropped the hook and she snapped at it.

Now my car would be safe down 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 maharajah 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 have been 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 La Rocque.

It was empty now. Or was it?

There was something else going on below.

The last rites for that hairy old chimp, performed 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. In that empty room over her garage.

Only it wasn't empty anymore. I'd had a visitor.

Somebody had brought in all 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 talking to you! My clothes and things are up in the room!

Naturally. 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 nothing in the deal about my staying here!

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, it's all 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' 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 that precious brainchild of hers.

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 directly to John the Baptist...

Cut away from me?

Honestly, it's a little 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. Okay.

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 oil 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 dialog.

We didn't need dialog. 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.

Spade. Pass.

Three no-trump. Pass.


Empty the ashtray, will you, Joe, dear?

There are some men outside, they asked for you. I'm not here.

That's what I told them. Good.

But they found your car in the garage, 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?

No. Please.

Now what is it? Where's the fire? I've lost my car.

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 ghostwriting.

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 you're wearing. What's wrong with it?

Nothing, if you work in the filling station.

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

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

I don't need any clothes, and I certainly 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?

Now there's nothing like blue flannel for a man.

Now 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.

Of course you do. A tuxedo and tails, and if you aren't careful, you'll get 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 had 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.

Turn around. Please.

Come on. Perfect. Wonderful shoulders. I love that line.

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

You know, 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.

Cute. Come on, 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.

You know, 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. What time are they supposed to get here?

Who? The other guests.

There are no other guests.

We don't want to share this night with other people.

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.

And when our picture is finished, I'll buy you a boat and we'll sail to Hawaii...

Stop it. You're not going to 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 $1,000,000. 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. Tom.

How are you, Joe?

Welcome to the party. Hi, Joe.

Well, what do you know! Joe Gillis! Hiya, Artie.

Where you been keeping that gorgeous face of yours?

In a deep freeze.

I almost reported you to the Bureau of Missing Persons.

Fans, you all know Joe Gillis, the well-known screenwriter, uranium smuggler and Black Dahlia suspect.

Come on, give me your coat. Let it ride for a while.

You're gonna stay, aren't you? Well, that was the general idea.

Then, come on. What is this, mink?

Judas H. Priest!

Who did you borrow that from? Adolphe Menjou?

Close, but no cigar.

Say, you're not really in the smuggling business these days, 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?

Sure. 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.

I'll have the bellhop take care of 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 a minute. 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.

Hey, about that luggage. 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, Joe. 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 schoolteacher.

I had a teacher like that once.

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

Now 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. And I've got a few ideas of my own.

One of them 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 Coldstream Guards.

Furthermore, 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. I want you to get my old suitcase and put in all my old clothes, the ones I came with.

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.

What? Max! Max!

I just got the recipe. You take two packages of cough drops and dissolve in one gallon of lukewarm grape juice, and...

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. Well, where can I reach him?

Maybe somebody else in the house 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.

You're to take the script over to Paramount and deliver it to Mr. DeMille in person.

Very good, Madame.

You really going to send that script to DeMille?

Yes, I am. This is the day. Here's the chart from my astrologer.

She read DeMille's horoscope. She read mine.

Did she read the script? DeMille is Leo. I'm Scorpio.

Mars has been transiting Jupiter for weeks.

Today is the day of the greatest conjunction.

Turn around, darling. Let me dry you.

I hope you realize, Norma, that scripts don't sell on astrologer's 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.

But the point is, I never looked better in my life.

Do 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 at the drugstore, will you, Max? I'll get you some.

You're a darling.

Give me a package of those Turkish cigarettes. Abdullas.

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

Hi, Artie. Good evening, Miss Schaefer.

You don't know how glad I am to see you!

Walking out on the mob. What's the big idea?

Oh, 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 10-karat kidney stone.

Oh, stop it, Artie, will you? Where've you been keeping yourself?

I've got the most wonderful news for you.

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

I called your agent. I called the Screen Writers' Guild.

Finally, your old apartment gave me some Crestview number.

There was always somebody with an accent growling at me.

You were not there. You were not to be spoken to.

They never even heard of you.

Is that so? What's the wonderful news?

Sheldrake likes the angle about the teacher.

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's really just a springboard. It needs work.

I was afraid of that.

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

Could you write in plenty of background action so they'll need an extra assistant director, huh?

Oh, Artie, shut up!

Now, if we could sit down for two weeks to get a story...

I'm sorry, Miss Schaefer, I've given up writing on spec.

But I tell you 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 cufflinks.

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

It's not your career, it's mine! I'd kind of 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.

Oh, 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 Mac 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, darling? 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, planning 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! Now, do you believe me? I told you DeMille would jump at it.

It is not Mr. DeMille in person.

It is someone by the name of Gordon Cole.

He says it's very important. Certainly it's important.

It's important enough for 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, maybe he's 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'd been some more of those urgent calls from Paramount.

So, she put on about a half a 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! Yeah?

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.

Tell him 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.

Oh, I guess, get... Notify Henry Wilcoxon.

Just clear them out, will you? Spread the thing out so I can see it.

Keep it quiet a little bit, will you, back there?

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

Can you hit that with a light, somebody, so I can get a look at that 'scape?

Back up a little bit here, girlie, back up.

Soldier, get out of the way. You fell over the back there.

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

Norma Desmond?

Wait a minute.

- Harry Wilcoxon! Yes?

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.

Very sorry, Mr. DeMille.

It must be about that awful script of hers.

What can I tell her? What can I say?

I can tell her you're all tied up in the projection room.

I can 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, darling? I don't think so.

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

Thank you, dearest.

Well, hello, young fellow.

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

That last time I saw you was some place 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...

I must apologize for not calling you. You'd better. I'm very angry.

Well, as you can see, I'm terribly busy.

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

Yes, I did.

Then you could have 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 darned interested in that script, he wouldn't have tried to get me on the telephone 10 times.

Gordon Cole!

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

Now, why don't you just sit up here in my chair and make yourself comfortable?

Thank you. That's a girl. There.

I won't be a moment.

Bring me a telephone and get me Gordon Cole.


Hey, Miss Desmond!

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?

Miss Desmond! Hello!

Mr. Wilcoxon, have you met Miss Desmond?

It's a great pleasure.

Oh, 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 in on the lot the other day.

It looks just right for the Crosby picture.

We want to rent it for a couple of weeks.

Oh, I see.

Well, thank you very much. Thank you.

Hog-Eye, turn that light back where it belongs.

Well, I...

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? Nothing.

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

I had no idea how much I'd missed it.

We've missed you, too, dear.

We'll be working again, won't we, Chief? We'll make our greatest picture!

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

Well, it's... It has some good things in it, yes, but, it would be a very expensive picture.

Oh, 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, darling, 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.

Hey, here's that funny car Gordon Cole was talking about.

Yeah. Do you 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, take it. It's all yours.

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

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

Now, why should you do that?

If you get 100,000 for it, you buy me a box of chocolate creams.

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

You know, I'd take you up on that in a minute.

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

What about all those ideas you had?

Well, see if they make sense.

To begin with, I think 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, their struggle!

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

Now, the first time they meet...

Look, if you don't mind, 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? 6:00 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. 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. It's out!

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 for a situation?

She teaches daytimes, he teaches at night. Right?

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. Well, come on back.

Let me show you where it fits in. So long.

Oh, you...

What's the matter, Max? I just found out the reason for all those telephone calls from Paramount.

It's not Madame they want. It's her car they want to rent.


Well, goodbye, Norma. We'll see what we can do.

I'm not worried. Everything will be fine. The old team together again.

Nothing can stop us. The old team. Yeah.

Goodbye, dear. Goodbye, Mr. DeMille.

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

It's practically set.

Of course, 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.

You know, I've lost half a pound since Tuesday.

Good! I was a little worried about the line of my throat.

This woman has done wonders with it. Good.

You'd 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 just happen to know it.

I had a nightmare and I 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.

Norma, you don't want me to feel that I'm locked up in this house?

Of course not, Joe. It's just that I don't want to be left alone.

Not 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.

Norma, I haven't done anything. Of course you haven't.

I wouldn't let you. Good night, darling.

Yes, I was playing hooky every evening alone 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 Schaefer 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 dialog along in here.

It'll play. It will?

Sure. Especially with lots of music underneath, drowning it out.

Don't you sometimes hate yourself? Constantly.

No, in all seriousness, this is really good. It's fun writing with you.

Oh, thanks.

Who's Norma?

Who's who?

Oh, 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 multi-millionaire and leaves you all her money.

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

Now, suppose you proofread page 10 while the water boils.

Okay? Okay.

Sometimes, when we got stuck, we'd make a little tour of the drowsing lot, not talking much, just wandering down alleys between the sound stages 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 clone 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 10 years of dramatic lessons, diction, dancing.

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

It slanted this way a little. So, I went to a doctor and 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. Oh, not at all.

It taught me a little sense. I got a job in the mailroom, worked up to the Stenographic. 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? It 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 twenty-two.

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 you see me coming any closer, I want you to take off a shoe and clunk me on the head with it.

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.

How about going up the kitchen stairs and undressing in the dark?

Will that do it?

I am not inquiring where Mr. Gillis goes every night.

Why don't you? I'm writing a script.

And I'm going to 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. Yes, 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?

Oh, something came up. I don't want to talk about it.

Why not?

I just don't.

What've you heard?

Come on, let's have it. Is it about me?

Betty, 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 $2 to get married there.

It would kind of save us a honeymoon.

Well, why don't you? We can finish the script by Thursday.

Stop crying, will you? 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. Me!

She was a fool not to sense that 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.

Hello. Is this Gladstone 9281?

May I speak to Miss Betty Schaefer? She must be home by now.

Hey, Betty! 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, anyway?

Miss Schaefer, I'm trying to do you a favor.

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

Of course 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.

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 10,086 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 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 10,079, Connie. It must be over there.

Betty, let me come along with you. Please!

No, I'll be all right.

I love you, Joe. I love you, Joe.

I love you, Joe.

What are you going to do, Joe? What are you going to 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.

This is 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 have heard the name.

Norma Desmond.

That was Norma Desmond on the phone?

Would you like something to drink? There's always champagne on ice, plenty of caviar. Why did she call me?


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.

A very simple setup. An older woman who is well-to-do.

A younger man who's not doing too well.

Can you figure it out yourself? No.

All right. I'll give you a few more clues. No! I haven't heard any of this.

I never got those telephone 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, all my custom-made shoes and the six dozen shirts and the cufflinks 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.

Well, 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 the two of you 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. Joe, 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 is in the top drawer.

It's yours, Joe. I gave it to you. And I'd take it in a second, only it's a little 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? Money?

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.

See, 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?

Well, 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. Now, face it!

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

What about the studio? 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. Come on, 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! Max!

Madame is the greatest star of them all.

I will take Mr. Gillis' 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.

Goodbye, Norma.

No one ever leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.

Joe! Joe!



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 a couple of 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 whoop-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 re-write, man. Take it direct. Ready?

"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..."

You don't deny having killed this man, Miss Desmond?

"...she sits in the silken boudoir of her house..."

Just answer me that!

Was it a sudden quarrel?

Had you ever had 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 trying to steal something?

Or find he had stolen something?

The 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. Okay.

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? Any statement?

Why did she do it? Is there a confession?

Everything set up, gentlemen? Just about.

Lights ready? All set.

Okay, fellas.

Quiet, everybody!


Are you ready, Norma?

What is the scene? Where am I?

This is the staircase of the palace!

Oh, yes, yes...

Down below, they're waiting for the princess.

I'm ready.

All right. Cameras! Action!

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, would you mind if I say a few words? Thank you.

I just 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.