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#044 Billy Wilder: Sunset Boulevard vs. Buddy Buddy


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In today’s episode Nate and Austin compare Billy Wilder’s best and worst rated films, Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Buddy Buddy (1981), respectively. Nate almost falls asleep, Austin rethinks his love for Jack Lemmon, and they both continue to painfully count down the days until Tarantino’s retirement.

The show will be taking a month long hiatus for Winter break, so check back mid-January where we will compare Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003) and The Bling Ring (2013), her best and worst rated films.


Also check out this interview with Billy Wilder where he talks about story:


Buddy Buddy Notes

Worst Rated

PLOT: During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California’s Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.

  • Ratings: IMDb 6.6 | RT 62% C / 42% A
  • Released: 1981
  • Director: Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Double Indemnity)
  • Writer(s): Francis Veber (play, story), Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
  • Cinematographer: Harry Stradling Jr. (Gunsmoke, Little Big Man, The Way We Are, Blind Date)
  • Notable actors: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Paula Prentiss, Klaus Kinski, Dana Elcar, Michael Ensign, Joan Shawlee, Ronnie Sperling
  • Budget: $10 million
  • Box office: $7.26 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • Two weeks into principal photography, co-writer/director Billy Wilder felt he had miscast the hit-man character with Walter Matthau, that the picture did not work with two comic leads, the Matthau part needed to be in a serious mold, like with a Clint Eastwood.
    • After his miserable experience on Fedora (1978), writer-director Billy Wilder had retired from films. However, he agreed to make this film once Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau had signed on.

Sunset Boulevard Notes

Best Rated

PLOT: A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

  • Ratings: IMDb 8.5 | RT 98% C / 95% A
  • Released: 1950
  • Director: Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Double Indemnity)
  • Writer(s): Charles Brackett & Billy Wilder & D.M. Marshman Jr. (written by)
  • Cinematographer: John F. Seitz (Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Sullivan’s Travels)
  • Notable actors: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Jack Webb, Cecil B. DeMille, Hedda Hopper, Buster Keaton, Anna Q. Nilsson, H.B. Warner, Ray Evans, Jay Livingston
  • Budget: $1.75 million
  • Box office: $5 million
  • Fun Facts:
    • As a practical joke, during the scene where William Holden and Nancy Olson kiss for the first time, Billy Wilder let them carry on for minutes without yelling cut (he’d already gotten the shot he needed on the first take). Eventually it wasn’t Wilder who shouted “Cut!” but Holden’s wife, Ardis (actress Brenda Marshall), who happened to be on set that day.
    • The photos of the young Norma Desmond that decorate the house are all genuine publicity photos from Gloria Swanson’s heyday.
    • Upon seeing the film at a star-studded preview screening at Paramount, MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer screamed at director Billy Wilder that he should be tarred, feathered and horse-whipped for bringing his profession into such disrepute. Wilder’s response was a terse, “Fuck you.”
    • Montgomery Clift quit the production because he was, like the character of Joe, having an affair with a wealthy middle-aged former actress, Libby Holman, and he was scared the press would start prying into his background.
    • The movie’s line “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up” was voted as the #7 movie quote by the American Film Institute. (It is also one of the most frequently misquoted movie lines, usually given as, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”) The other line, “I am big! It’s the pictures that got small.” was voted #24, out of 100.

 

Intro music: Calm The Fuck Down – Broke For Free / CC BY 3.0

 


 

The Best and Worst of the Best Podcast is a show where host’s Nate and Austin compare a film director’s best and worst rated movies to see where they went wrong.



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