This is Donald Trump's Favorite Movie. "He Watches it Again and Again and Again."
Much has been written and analyzed about former President Donald Trump's habits and tastes. Thanks to his once-frequent tweets, we know which figures in the news raised his ire. But we hadn't learned much about his pop-culture preferences until now.
In a New York magazine piece last week, Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi uncovered Trump's favorite movie—one that he says is "one of the greatest of all time" and, Nuzzi reports, watches "again and again and again." Read on to find out what the movie is, and why it may have a touch of symbolism in terms of where the former president finds himself now.
Trump's Favorite Movie
In the piece on how Trump spends his days these days, after losing his bid for a second presidential term, Nuzzi reports that one thing the former president loves to do is watch his favorite movie: Sunset Boulevard. The 1950 film, directed by Billy Wilder, is considered a classic of American cinema. That's partly because it's a trenchant cautionary tale about how Hollywood tends to chew players up and spit them out.
The film stars Gloria Swanson as former silent movie queen Norma Desmond, who believes she is about to make a remarkable comeback in the world of talking pictures and draws a young male screenwriter into her twisted version of reality. "A silent-picture star sidelined by the talkies, driven to madness, in denial over her faded celebrity," is how Nuzzi describes it.
He's Shown It to Others, Including a Biographer
"When he was a businessman, he showed it to guests aboard his 727," Nuzzi reports. "When he was president, he held screenings of it for White House staff at Camp David. He once showed it to his press secretary Stephanie Grisham, who later described how 'the president, who could never sit still for anything without talking on the phone, sending a tweet, or flipping through TV channels, sat enthralled.'"
"Is This an Incredible Scene or What?"
The biographer Tim O'Brien once wrote about watching the movie with Trump. When the film depicted Norma Desmond crying, "Those idiot producers. Those imbeciles! Haven't they got any eyes? Have they forgotten what a star looks like? I'll show them. I'll be up there again, so help me!," Trump whispered to O'Brien, "Is this an incredible scene or what? Just incredible."
It Doesn't End Well
Nuzzi concludes her piece by asking: "Do you remember how Sunset Boulevard ends? Norma Desmond shoots and kills the writer, a fraudster who has fallen under the spell of her charisma, just as he summons the courage to walk away. Her sycophantic butler flips. There are no enablers left to protect her." "A final fantasy, a fake movie set, is staged in the mansion's entryway. The lights go on, and she is lured before the cameras, where the police are waiting to haul her away."
A Hollywood Classic
Sunset Boulevard is a classic film noir that remains highly regarded for its memorable characters, sharp screenplay, and enduring themes. It tells the story of a struggling screenwriter who becomes involved with a reclusive, former silent film star living in a decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard. The film was a critical and commercial success upon its release, earning three Academy Awards and becoming one of the highest-grossing films of 1950.
Gloria Swanson's portrayal of the fading film star Norma Desmond earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. The film's screenplay was written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett and was based on a story by Wilder and D.M. Marshman Jr.
The film's memorable score was composed by Franz Waxman and featured the iconic "As Time Goes By" by Herman Hupfeld. It's known for its dark, cynical tone and its commentary on the film industry and the pitfalls of fame. The movie has been widely hailed as a classic of Hollywood cinema and has been referenced and parodied in numerous other films and media.