South Pasadena's Community Room will have a free screening of the beloved and acclaimed 1950 "Sunset Boulevard" on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The film won three Academy Awards - including Best Writing, Story and Screenplay" - and it was nominated for 11. Only 26 films in the past 85 years have garnered 12 or more nominations. In fact, the American Film Institute selected Billy Wilder's "Sunset Boulevard" as No. 12 in its list of 100 Greatest Movies.
Steve Fjeldsted, South Pasadena Public Library's city librarian, said he picked the classic to give residents an opportunity to celebrate their culture.
"William Holden (who plays Joe Gillis) is the most famous person from South Pasadena - almost without question," Fjeldsted said. "He grew up here from the time he was 3 years old and graduated from South Pasadena High School. He grew up to be Hollywood's leading male actor. He appeared in almost 70 motion pictures."
The Academy Awards nominated Holden for Best Actor for his portrayal of Gillis, a hack screenwriter who is sucked into the vortex of a delusional, silent-film has-been, Norma Desmond, played by Gloria Swanson. Desmond moves Gillis into her dilapidated 1920s mansion and hires him to re-work her comeback masterpiece, "Salome." A series of events leads to a death - a staple of film noir, French for "black film" or film of the night.
The movie was the first one to poke fun of Hollywood films, Fjeldsted said.
About 200 seats will be available, and attendees will get some background about the film and Holden. Tom Zimmerman, a Los Angeles historian, will introduce the flick and will provide a historical critique. Actress Stefanie Powers, president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, will deliver a tribute to Holden.
Escott Norton, director of "Friends of the Rialto," said he's seen the movie many times but watching the it at 1115 El Centro St. with about 200 others isn't the same as watching it on Netflix.
"When you're with an audience of strangers and you're all laughing and clapping and hissing, it makes it so much richer," Norton said. "It's so much better than seeing it in your living room. The experience is heightened."
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