How Well Do You Remember The Movie, “Sunset Boulevard?”

Olivia Cantor

About This Quiz

A true-blue film lover would know the classic film Sunset Boulevard, as this film has influenced many films after it. Think you can walk down memory lane and decipher the details of Sunset Boulevard? Then take this quiz and find out!

Sunset Boulevard is about a former celebrity named Norma Desmond. What did she do to get famous?

The famed Norma Desmond was a former Hollywood actress. Her face alone could portray many dramatic parts.

In which California city did the story of Sunset Boulevard take place?

Sunset Boulevard's story happened in Los Angeles, California. But it's a cautionary tale of sorts, for those misguided by the glitz and glamor.

Norma Desmond was a big movie star during a certain era of Hollywood. Which era was this?

Norma acts with her face and body, and is very good at doing that. This is the trademark of celebrities during the silent film era.

The film’s story is told to the audience as it happens. What is this audio storytelling style called?

The voice-over narrator storytelling style employed in this film is of the "omniscient" one. That means the invisible storyteller knows everything that's happening in the story, even before the characters themselves discover it.

Was Sunset Boulevard filmed in Technicolor?

The 1950 classic film Sunset Boulevard is filmed in black and white. This visual decision adds greatly to the mood and feel of the film, as it fits directly into its genre of film noir.

Which lead character speaks as the voiceover narration of the story?

Joe Gillis is the character who does the voiceover storytelling for this film. Of course he doesn't reveal immediately as to why he's the one narrating -- but audiences will find out toward the end.

What derogatory term do they use for inactive and older/former celebrities like Norma Desmond?

Norma Desmond is considered a has-been, or someone who used to be big. It's a very hurtful remark, especially for someone who has such a huge celebrity and ego to boost.

One of the iconic Norma Desmond quotes of the film is her retort to Joe when he said, “You used to be big.” What was her legendary witty comeback?

"I am big; it’s the pictures that got small" is probably one of the most recognized quotes from Sunset Boulevard. The film has many!

The voiceover narrator, Joe Gillis, is a writer who works in Hollywood. What kind of material does he write?

Joe Gillis is a screenplay writer. That means he can create one from scratch, or work on an existing one to improve on it.

Which Hollywood studio did Norma Desmond claim to have helped with her former stardom?

Norma said, "Tell him without me, there wouldn't be any Paramount studios." What a fine way to command the crowd!

What is the term they use when a has-been movie star tries to be active again and make projects in the film industry?

Stars make a comeback when they've gone inactive, then get active again. But not all actors like to do this.

Norma Desmond hates the term “comeback.” What term does she prefer, as a substitute?

Norma wants to do "a return" to the movies. It sounds more dramatic than "a comeback" indeed.

The most iconic Norma Desmond quote from the film is “All right, Mr. __, I’m ready for my close-up.” Which classic Hollywood director was she referring to?

Cecil B. De Mille actually worked in many movies with Gloria Swanson, the actress who played Norma Desmond, during the silent film era. When Norma visited Mr. De Mille on the set, he was actually working on one of his films at the time of shooting.

A huge celebrity like Norma Desmond has what kind of living quarters along Sunset Boulevard?

Norma Desmond lived in a mansion-like estate along Sunset Boulevard. This area was considered as prime real estate during the early days of Hollywood.

An impoverished screenwriter in between jobs like Joe Gillis lives in which kind of living quarters?

Out of towners who come to work in Hollywood often lived in apartments. Sometimes, many live in one space, to save up money.

Like many people who pursue a career in Hollywood, Joe Gillis is not originally from Los Angeles. Which state is he originally from?

Joe mentions that if his Hollywood career didn't take off, he'd be back covering funerals in Dayton, Ohio. Everyone is indeed attracted by this west coast glamor.

Norma met Joe for the first time because she mistook him for someone else. What odd job worker did she mistake him for?

They were expecting an undertaker to arrive at Norma's mansion during the time Joe Gillis accidentally walked in there. They were about to bury her pet monkey that day.

Joe met Norma because he accidentally hid in which part of her mansion?

Joe Gillis was trying to evade some agents out to repossess his unpaid car. So he ducked into the nearest driveway along Sunset Boulevard to escape them -- and that's how he ended up in Norma's driveway.

Norma was living in her mansion with Max. How is he related to her, as initially revealed?

The curt and wry-looking Max was Norma's overall servant in that huge mansion. That means he does all the errands for madam.

Norma hired Joe when she learned that he was a screenwriter. What job did she want him to do for her?

Apparently, Norma was writing this one humongous screenplay which she plans to star in. She needed someone to help her rewrite it -- so enter Joe!

Max the servant wasn’t originally a servant. What was his life prior to being with Norma on Sunset Boulevard?

Max von Mayerling was actually a known silent film-era director prior to being Norma's servant. How he ended up being with her was such a Hollywood dramatic story!

How did film fans communicate with actors like Norma Desmond during the earlier decades of Hollywood?

Fans of celebrities usually sent fan mail to their idols. During the early days, people actually took the time to mail them at the post office.

As a gesture of appreciation, what do the celebrities of the older era send their adoring fans?

Dedicated celebrities make it a point to send their fans autographed photographs of them. This is how celebs reply to their fan mail.

Joe ended up living in Norma Desmond’s mansion, while she ended up feeling this way for him.

As Norma worked with Joe Gillis inside her mansion, their closeness developed into something else. Norma started falling in love with the younger man.

Norma showered Joe with lavish gifts, like a piece of clothing made of vicuna. What is this piece of clothing?

A vicuna coat is a sign of lavish tenderness. This is precisely what Norma wanted Joe to have, and feel.

Another lavish gift Norma gave Joe was a cigarette case. What was it made of?

Norma gave Joe a cigarette case made of solid gold. It was also inscribed with the message "mad about the boy."

Aside from being a former film director, it was revealed that Max was initially related to Norma. How are they related?

It turns out Max was Norma Desmond's first husband. His dedication to her was so intense that he left his directing career to be with her.

To entertain Joe one time, Norma Desmond dressed up as another silent film era star. Which star was this?

In one of their lighter moments in her Sunset Boulevard mansion, Norma Desmond dressed up as Charlie Chaplin's signature silent film era character, the Little Tramp. It was indeed such a surreal moment!

While Joe consumed Norma’s love for him, another woman started falling in love with him. Who was this woman?

Betty Schaefer was a script reader at Paramount Studios who ended up working late nights with Joe. Of course, the intense closeness of working together sparked something else in Betty.

Why were Betty and Joe working late nights at Paramount Studios?

Betty started working with Joe during her off hours at night to turn his short story into a screenplay. They both enjoyed the creative experience.

Betty came from a family of Hollywood workers. What was she originally being groomed to become, prior to ending up being a script reader at Paramount Pictures?

Betty underwent all the necessary training to hopefully become an actress. But one screen test of the studio destroyed everything, since they saw that she's not fit to work on-camera.

When Norma learned about Joe and Betty’s late nights together, she got jealous and hurt herself. What did she do?

When her celebrity faded, Norma suffered bouts of depression which also had acts of suicidal tendencies in the past. So this Betty and Joe business triggered all that again, and she used Joe's razor to cut her wrists.

When Norma called up Betty Schaefer, what did the old-timer tell the younger woman about Joe’s private life?

Norma dropped hints at Betty that he is the aged celebrity's kept man, of sorts. But Betty's not too sharp to get that, so she had to see it for herself.

When Joe finally had the guts to stand up to Norma to leave her toward the end, what did the famed celebrity do to the fledgling screenwriter?

As Joe was leaving the mansion, Norma got a hold of her gun and shot him. He ended up falling into the pool, dead -- where the start of his voice over narration comes to a loop, as he reveals that he is narrating the whole story while he's already dead.

Another iconic Norma Desmond quote was about a celebrity not being alone, ever. What was her exact quote about that?

Before shooting Joe, Norma earlier said "No one ever leaves a star!" So yes, Joe didn't leave the Sunset Boulevard mansion alright, but he didn't live either.

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