Tuesday 14 April 2009


"You're Norma Desmond," says Joe Gillis in Billy Wilder's classic 1950 movie, Sunset Boulevard, "You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big."

"I am big," the aging star replies, "it's the pictures that got small!"

But in the advertisements for the new production of the musical based on the film, it's the PRINT that got small --- at least when it comes to the names of the writers of the book and lyrics, Don Black and Christopher Hampton, and the story's 'onlie begetter', Billy Wilder...

Click image to enlarge
(unless you're Andrew Lloyd Webber!)


SharonM said...

Well, let's face it, we writers aren't important, are we?

Except... where would they be without us?

Brian Sibley said...

I agree - naturally!When I think of the show-stopping songs in Sunset Blvd like 'As If We'd Never Said Good-bye' and 'With One Look', I'd have to say that ALW's melody's would be nothing without Don Black's wonderful lyrics.

Interestingly if one looks back across the history of musical theatre, composers tended to be rather more generous: hence we talk about Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music and Lerner and Lowe's My Fair Lady - indeed, in the latter case, the lyricist was billed first!

Muir Hewitt said...

Actually I really do enjoy Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard but the man is a huge egotist as well as a talented writer of popular musicals!

I wonder why Lloyd Webber's musical version has still not been filmed? I like the music and lyrics , and would love to see Glenn Close or some other Diva have a crack at the role of Norma Desmond , played superbly by Gloria Swanson in the great Billy Wilder motion picture!

Brian Sibley said...

I saw Elaine Paige's 40th Anniversary concert at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, last month and her performances of 'As If We'd Never Said Good-bye' and 'With One Look' (wearing the costume from her Broadway run in the show) were sensational: as they say, show-stopping!

I know EP isn't a movie star, but she would be terrific in any film version...