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David M. Lubin
Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC 27109-6000)
Ready for My Closeup: A Biography of "Sunset Boulevard"

Research and writing of a book on the background, making, and legacy of the movie Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Influential films, like influential people, deserve their own biographies, and few films have been as influential as Sunset Boulevard (1950). Charting the movie's origins, making, and legacy, this will be the first book to examine in depth the cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance of a remarkable motion picture about human vanity and fear of aging. Director Billy Wilder, an Austrian-Jewish émigré to Hollywood, brought his cynical, Old World sensibility to the project, but its greatness can’t be laid exclusively at his feet, for his artistic collaborators were also at the peak of their creative powers. Relying on letters, diaries, published and unpublished papers, interviews with surviving family members, and extensive viewing of the films these Hollywood professionals made both before and after Sunset Boulevard, this book will show how a dark and bitter self-examination of the American film industry became one of that industry's crowning achievements.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022