UPDATE: Because of the large number of "Yes" RSVP's, I have a feeling that this will be a popular program generally. The museum exhibition, A Strange Magic: Gustave Moreau’s Salome, will be open, and, if I'm wrong about the popularity of the movie, you can visit it first, but I'm going to arrive at 5 PM in order to see it before I get in line at 6 PM. I would love it if some of you could join me, but it's not really part of the meetup. So...to cut to the chase:
Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd, one of Hollywood's genuinely timeless classics, is being presented by the Hammer Museum "...in conjunction with the exhibition A Strange Magic: Gustave Moreau’s Salome...", which, hopefully, is open for viewing before the screening. Why the conjunction? Here's what the Hammer has to say...
While the screening is free, there are a few wrinkles: the $3 parking fee, the time that you'll spend arriving early to be at the front of the line, and possibly a Hammer Museum membership to guarantee priority seating.
We'll meet in the Hammer's courtyard around 6:15, if the accompanying exhibition is open, or 6:45 if it isn't, and make appropriate decisions about what to do next, depending on the crowd. I'll update this when I know more.
There are no tickets to buy, and the museum doesn't take reservations...it's first come, first served. Let's be one of the first...:)
No dinner is planned before the meetup, but food and drink is available until 7 PM from Ammo, in the Hammer courtyard.
Billy Wilder's noir-comic classic about death and decay in Hollywood remains as pungent as ever in its power to provoke shock, laughter, and gasps of astonishment. Joe Gillis (William Holden), a broke and cynical young screenwriter, is attempting to ditch a pair of repo men late one afternoon when he pulls off L.A.'s storied Sunset Boulevard and into the driveway of a seedy mansion belonging to Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), a forgotten silent movie luminary whose brilliant acting career withered with the coming of talkies. The demented old movie queen lives in the past, assisted by her devoted (but intimidating) butler, Max (played by Erich von Stroheim, the legendary director of Greed and Swanson's own lost epic, Queen Kelly). Norma dreams of making a comeback in a remake of Salome to be directed by her old colleague Cecil B. DeMille (as himself), and Joe becomes her literary and romantic gigolo. Sunset Blvd. is one of those great movies that has become a part of popular culture (the line "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," has entered the language)--but it's no relic. Wow, does it ever hold up. --Jim Emerson