Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Am Big, It’s The Pictures That Got Small

Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard is one of my favorite classic Hollywood films. Ranked #12 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Best American Films,” Sunset Boulevard chronicles silent film star Norma Desmond’s desire to return to the silver screen after being cast into obscurity with the rise of ‘talkies.’ She meets down-on-his-luck screenwriter, Joe Gillis whom Norma proposes move into the mansion to help her write a screenplay for her comeback to the cinema. One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Norma returns back to Paramount Studios and is driven through their iconic gates.

Pic via dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com
Founded in 1912, Paramount is America's oldest existing film studio and the last major film studio still headquartered in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. I had the pleasure of taking a tour of Paramount Studios when I was in Los Angeles, and it did not disappoint. Reservations are required for the backlot tour and even though they tell you cameras are not permitted, they really are, so be sure NOT to leave your camera in the car like the poor women in our tour group.

The tour lasted about two hours and in that time, we covered a lot of ground. In addition to learning more about the history of the actual studio, our tour took us to a ‘real’ New York City neighborhood (didn’t come close to the real thing!) the set of Men of a Certain Age and Monk, and right past LL Cool J who was filming NCIS: Los Angeles. But perhaps the best part of the tour was getting to see the famed gates that Norma Desmond was driven through in Sunset Boulevard. I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

And the Paramount Gates today!

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