Made four short years after Frank Capra’s life-affirming It’s a Wonderful Life, Billy Wilder’s masterful noir, Sunset Boulevard, is Hollywood at its darkest. It absolutely revels in, not only the dark heart of Hollywood, but all the cynicism and reality-biting life of post-war America.
The red sun sets on what is an unseasonably mild evening for this time of year as the artfully lit cloisters on either side of us frame the main event: Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. On a big screen. In a Victorian cemetery.
The oppressive, punishing din of a black noise from the abyss syncopated with flashes of blinding white light, with no possible means of escape from the claustrophobic theatre seat I am inhabiting, my nonchalant fiancé to one side and a row of students to the other.