Dickson Hughes and Richard Stapley, two young songwriters and romantic partners, find themselves caught in movie star Gloria Swanson’s web after she hires them to write a musical version of Sunset Boulevard for the stage. Following them decades before Andrew Lloyd Webber’s attempts to adapt the same filmed masterpiece for Broadway, Boulevard! ricochets between Hollywood, New York, and Palm Springs in examining the trio’s mid-century collaborations, all while echoing the barbed intimacy and surprising twists of Sunset Boulevard itself.
Sticking close to a couple drawn—like so many viewers—to Swanson’s magnetism and destructive potential, director Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito, Frameline36; I Am Divine, Frameline37) reveals an intimate world of personal and creative collaboration upended by the force of a tempestuous star. Bringing together archival findings, interviews, and original animations from Maurice Vellekoop, Boulevard! finds its heart amid an unearthed interview with Stapley himself, speaking firsthand to the romance of an ambitious collaboration with one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars.
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