W-100: SUNSET BLVD

sunset boulevardWhite One Hundred: 100 Great Films Starring Only White People, #7 — Sunset Blvd —Without a doubt, Billy Wilder is one of my favorite directors of all time. I’ve seen most of his movies (though not all), and I’m hard-pressed to recall ever seeing a person of color in any of his movies. There were probably some Native American or Latino extras in Ace in the Hole, but I don’t remember (which I suppose provides me an excuse to watch it again). Likewise, there may have been some people of color as extras in a crowd scene in The Apartment, but if there were, I never noticed. And in Some Like It Hot, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis play jazz musicians, but I don’t recall ever seeing any Black extras playing fellow musicians (granted I haven’t seen that particular film in a long time). I mean c’mon, they’re playing jazz musicians. But I have seen Sunset Blvd very recently, and I looked and looked and looked, and I didn’t see any color anywhere. Despite this fact, I still love Sunset Blvd, as well as most of Wilder’s other movies. I can’t emphasize this enough; the White One Hundred is not about attacking films, or accusing films or filmmakers of being racist. It is merely about pointing out the lack of diversity that exists in many films—especially many great films. This lack of diversity perpetuates the creation of cinematic realities devoid of people of color, and that is wrong, because that perpetuates an ideology that seeks to negate the need for diversity.

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