In this film noir, Billy Wilder utilized New Year's Eve as a storytelling device with drastically different results than when he employed it 10 years later in the 1960 dramedy The Apartment.

Faded, forgotten silent-film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) knows how to throw one hell of a party. In her attempts to woo wannabe scribe Joe Gillis (William Holden), the aging starlet arranges an elegant fete (think live orchestra and dance floor for tangoing) fit for a crowd but intended just for the two of them. General party rule: When the orchestra musicians outnumber the party guests two to one, it's time to invite some more revelers to share in the experience.