Sunset Blvd.

Fleeing the Nazis, Billy Wilder arrived in the U.S. in 1933 speaking hardly a word of English; today he's considered one of the greats of postwar American cinema. His 1950 classic Sunset Blvd. shows just how well he adjusted to the vernacular of his adopted country, boasting more great lines than an average year-ful of movies. Co-written with Charles Brackett, the film is a black, venomously funny take on Hollywood—its dreams, delusions, and deceits—and probably the best movie ever made about that industry town. In it, jaded screenwriter William Holden becomes the gigolo to former silent era star Gloria Swanson, who embodies Hollywood's faded glory. Though filled with memorable quotes ("I am big. It's the pictures that got small"), some of the movie's best bits are wordless—like Holden's look of disgust as he beds Swanson, and his corpse floating in the pool. Then there's the famous "waxworks" card-playing scene in which Buster Keaton speaks one of his very few lines of dialogue. Wilder gave him only one word, "Pass," which Keaton utters with lemon-lipped disgust at the fallen state of Hollywood. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Nov. 16-21, 7 p.m., 2012

 
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