Paramount Home Media Distribution has officially announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of Billy Wilder's newly restored classic Sunset Boulevard (1950), starring William Holden, Gloria Swanson and Erich von Stroheim. The Blu-ray will be available for purchase on November 6th.
A fitting release to continue Paramount's centennial celebration, Billy Wilder's seminal classic continues to enthrall audiences with its bizarre and tragic tale of Hollywood's dark side. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and winner for Best Writing, Best Art Direction and Best Music, Sunset Boulevard was named by the American Film Institute as #12 on its list of the Greatest American Movies.
According to Paramount, the main objective of the restoration effort was to remain faithful to the distinctive look created by the director and cinematographer. Stark shadows and darkness occasionally cut by the bright light of a film projector are themselves essential in telling the disturbing story of madness and obsession. The restoration team secured a vintage print made at the time of release from the Library of Congress to view and study the tones and extensively researched documentation from the production to accurately present the director's original vision. Although none of the original nitrate materials survive, the restoration team conducted a worldwide search for the earliest generation elements, ultimately using an acetate 35mm duplicate negative as a primary source for scanning at 4K to create the highest picture quality possible.
In addition, work done on the film's original mono soundtrack back in 2001-2002 was expanded upon. As with the picture, no original sound materials survive, but a variety of source elements were analyzed, transferred, digitally cleaned and incorporated into the final restoration – including optical soundtrack negatives, music and effects tracks and partial music master materials.
The Sunset Boulevard Blu-ray boasts over two hours of in-depth bonus material that sheds light on the film, its origins and its path to becoming a classic. With featurettes on stars Gloria Swanson and William Holden, a look at renowned costume designer Edith Head, an exploration of the Paramount lot of the 50s, a Hollywood location map and much, much, more, the Blu-ray offers a comprehensive guide to this enduring cinematic treasure. In addition, the Blu-ray features a never-before-released deleted scene entitled "The Paramount-Don't-Want-Me Blues", which was obtained from the Academy Film Archive and features Academy Award-winning songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans performing a comedic song that was cut for fear of being too Hollywood insider in 1950.
Commentary by Ed Sikov, author of On Sunset Blvd: The Life and Times of
Day 1 for me, just hope the audio has not been over-cleaned up, remember analogue film sound like vinyl discs had a quality of its own. Too many old soundtracks are strangulated by people who know about nothing but digital, this is a big problem in the UK as examples take the BFI 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning' and Studio Canals 'Passport to Pimlico' to name but two.
And on the subject of Billy Wilder come on MGM lets have a BD of 'Avanti' that would make my year.
This is terrific news. A blu-ray of Sunset Blvd. is a title that I and many filmfans have been clamoring for. It's very reassuring to see a description of all the care and resources that went into the restoration of this landmark film. The extras seem extensive, I love the cover and the price is reasonable. Needless to say, it's been preordered.
themadpanner - I agree with your sentiment in principle. I just wish Lionsgate would get off the dime by releasing the Studio Canal properties for which it holds the license but are still only available in Region 2 (Europe).