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Wilde and Wilder

Wilde and Wilder
Wilde and Wilder
The use of Oscar Wilde’s Salome as the ground for the silent-screen star Norma Desmond’s film script and character is central to Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard ‘but oddly neglected by the film’s critics. This essay reads the film through its’ engagement with Salome, discussing its adoption from the play of a self-consciousness about the conditions of its art, which extend beyond the film’s production to cultural history and film aesthetics. Norma asserts the image and ideology of the Hollywood star through her identification with the aestheticist figure of Salome, while Joe Gillis not only writes film scripts but, with his peers Betty Schaefer and Artie Green, also foregrounds narrative conventions in his efforts to organize and control his own life and experience in the film. Through its main characters, Sunset Boulevard presents an allegory of Hollywood cinema in which the complementary filmic principles of image and narrative culminate respectively in madness and death
irish literature, 1800-1899, nineteenth century, oscar wilde, salome, drama, billy wilder, sunset boulevard, determinism, stardom, dramatic arts, film
0030-8129
1216-1230
Brown, Daniel
9782df03-dbb1-45e9-b6f3-626f397ad0c3
Brown, Daniel
9782df03-dbb1-45e9-b6f3-626f397ad0c3

Brown, Daniel (2004) Wilde and Wilder. PMLA, 119 (5), 1216-1230. (doi:10.1632/003081204X17806).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The use of Oscar Wilde’s Salome as the ground for the silent-screen star Norma Desmond’s film script and character is central to Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard ‘but oddly neglected by the film’s critics. This essay reads the film through its’ engagement with Salome, discussing its adoption from the play of a self-consciousness about the conditions of its art, which extend beyond the film’s production to cultural history and film aesthetics. Norma asserts the image and ideology of the Hollywood star through her identification with the aestheticist figure of Salome, while Joe Gillis not only writes film scripts but, with his peers Betty Schaefer and Artie Green, also foregrounds narrative conventions in his efforts to organize and control his own life and experience in the film. Through its main characters, Sunset Boulevard presents an allegory of Hollywood cinema in which the complementary filmic principles of image and narrative culminate respectively in madness and death

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More information

Published date: October 2004
Keywords: irish literature, 1800-1899, nineteenth century, oscar wilde, salome, drama, billy wilder, sunset boulevard, determinism, stardom, dramatic arts, film
Organisations: English

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 375516
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/375516
ISSN: 0030-8129
PURE UUID: 005b7475-dd70-4bb4-b511-8df6beaf2ce7

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Mar 2015 10:18
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:16

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