The House on Sunset (Interior) Lyrics. From Musical "Sunset Boulevard"

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The House on Sunset (Interior) Lyrics


by . From Sunset Boulevard.


The main room comes into view, and NORMA, her face now bare of make-up, wearing a white negligee, her expression profoundly tormented picks up the phone, and dials.

NORMA

Hello, is this Gladstone 9281? Miss Schaefer! ... Miss Schaefer, you must forgive me for calling so late, but I really feel it's my duty. It's about Mr. Gillis ... You do know a Mr Gillis? Well, exactly how much do you know about him? Do you know where he lives? Do you know what he lives on?

(At around this point, JOE, unseen by NORMA, steps in through the French doors and freezes in the shadows, listening.)

NORMA

I want to spare you
A lot of sadness.
I don't know what he's told you,
But I can guarantee you
He doesn't live with Mother,
Or what you'd call a room-mate.
He's just a ... I can't say it.
Poor Betty,
You ask him,
I'd love to hear his answer.

(SHE's completely taken by surprise as JOE snatches the receiver from her.)

JOE
That's right, Betty, why don't you ask me? Or better yet, come over and see for yourself. Yes, right now. The address is ten thousand eighty-six, Sunset Boulevard.

(HE hangs up violently and turns to stare at NORMA in furious silence. SHE flinches under his gaze.)

NORMA
Don't hate me, Joe. I did it because I need you. Look at me. Look at my hands. Look at my face. Look under my eyes. How can I go back to work if I'm wasting away?

(JOE says nothing. He is trying to control his rage.)

NORMA
Don't stand there hating me, Joe. Shout at me, strike me, but say you don't hate me.

(But JOE, who has been looking at her with an expression of infinite contempt, deliberately turns his back on her.

A distant rumble of thunder, and an orchestral interlude begins, during which the storm intensifies, a torrential tropical rain starts to fall, lightning flashes and NORMA makes her way shakily up the stairs. JOE paces, steeling himself for the coming encounter. NORMA vanishes into her bedroom. JOE finally slumps on the big sofa. Unseen by him, NORMA re-emerges quietly, on to the landing. SHE is holding a revolver. SHE sinks to the floor and waits. The shrill of the doorbell. JOE springs to his feet and

hurries to let BETTY in.)

JOE
Come on in.

(He leads BETTY into the main room. She looks around for a moment, unnerved by the size of the place.)

BETTY
What's going on, Joe?
Why am I so scared?
What was that woman saying?
She sounded so weird,
I don't understand ...

Please can't you tell me what's happening?
You said you loved me tonight.
Shall I just go?
Say something, Joe.

(NORMA moves stealthily forward, staring down at BETTY through the balustrade.)

JOE
Have some pink champagne,
And caviar,
When you go visit with a star,
The hospitality is stellar.

BETTY
So this is where you're living?

JOE
Yes, it's quite a place,
Sleeps seventeen,
Eight sunken tubs,
A movie screen,
A bowling alley in the cellar.

BETTY
I didn’t come to see a house, Joe.

JOE
Sunset Boulevard
Cruise the Boulevard
Win yourself a Hollywood palazzo.

Sunset Boulevard
Mythic Boulevard
Valentino danced on the terrazzo.

BETTY
Who's it belong to?

JOE
Just look around you.

BETTY
That's Norma Desmond.

(SHE's seen the big portrait above the fireplace. Now JOE begins to draw her attention to some of the innumerable other portraits, photographs and stills.)

JOE
Right on the money.
That's Norma Desmond
That's Norma Desmond
That's Norma Desmond
That's Norma Desmond.

BETTY
Why did she call me?

JOE
Give you three guesses.

It's the oldest story
In the book:
Come see the taker being took
The world is full of Joes and Normas.

Older woman
Very well-to-do
Meets younger man
A standard cue
For two mechanical performers.

(BETTY puts a hand over his mouth.)

BETTY
Just pack your things and let's go.

JOE
You mean all my things?
Have you gone mad!
Leave all the things I've never had?
Leave this luxurious existence?

You want me to face
That one-room hell,
That Murphy bed,
That rancid smell,
Go back to living on subsistence?

It's no time to begin a new life,
Now I've finally made a perfect landing.
I'm afraid there's no room for a wife,
Not unless she's uniquely understanding.
You should go back to Artie and marry the fool
And you'll always be welcome to swim in my pool.

BETTY
I can't look at you any more, Joe.

(SHE turns and rushes blindly out of the French door, leaving it open. JOE'S head slowly sinks. HE's overcome by a wave of misery.

Meanwhile, on the landing, NORMA scrambles to her feet. The revolver is no longer in evidence. SHE crosses the landing and starts off down the stairs; a flutter of movement catches JOE's eye and HE turns. NORMA stops on the stairs, temporarily halted by the fierceness of his expression, but as HE moves towards her and starts up the stairs, SHE stretches out a hand to him.)

NORMA
Thank you, thank you, Joe, thank you… thank you.

(JOE brushes past her, brusquely shaking off her hand as SHE touches his wrist and vanishing into his room. SHE stays where SHE is, uncertain, unable to make sense of what's happening; and, suddenly, JOE reappears. HE is carrying his battered old typewriter. Calm and unhurried, HE starts off down the stairs again, as NORMA stares wildly at him.)

NORMA
What are you doing, Joe?

(HE ignores her, continues to move evenly down the stairs.)

NORMA
You're not leaving me?

JOE
Yes, I am, Norma.

NORMA

You can't! Max!

JOE
It's been a bundle of laughs
And thanks for the use of the trinkets.

(He takes the gold cigarette case out of his pocket and hands it to her.)

JOE
A little ritzy for the copy desk
Back in Dayton.

(HE starts to move on, then turns back to her, his expression serious.)

JOE
And there's something you ought to know.
I want to do you this favour:
They'll never shoot that hopeless script of yours,
They only wanted your car.

(During this, MAX has entered below. HE looks on, helpless.)

NORMA
That's a lie! They still want me!
What about all my fan mail?

JOE
It's Max who writes you letters,
Your audience has vanished.
They left when you weren't looking.

Nothing's wrong with being fifty,
Unless you're acting twenty.

(HE sets off down the stairs.)

NORMA
I am the greatest star of them all.

JOE
Goodbye, Norma.

(HE has spoken without looking back; so HE does not see NORMA fetch the revolver out of her pocket and point it at him.)

NORMA
No one ever leaves a star.

(She fires. JOE looks extremely surprised but carries on walking, for the moment apparently unaffected. At the bottom of the stairs, HE lets go of the typewriter which crashes down on to the tiles. HE staggers slightly, but carries on walking. NORMA hurries after him. SHE fires twice more. MAX moves forward to the Center of the stage, aghast, for once completely at a loss.)

SLOW FADE TO BLACK




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