"Let us not speak of the silent period. The stars are too far from us, too exotic in their jewels, chinchilla, and velvet, their slinky cars as long as boats.... As youthful gods... they married one another or minor royalty and, in Beverly Hills or Bel Air, built enormous houses in innocently promiscuous Greco-Roman-Tuscan-Spanish style.... It was unthinkable that these people should have children. They burned bright and then were extinguished; in the public imagination, they could not reproduce. In Billy Wilder's 'Sunset Boulevard,' which was made in 1950, the sable past of the silent stars was already an object of amazement."
--David Denby, "Fallen Idols: Have Stars Lost Their Magic?" New Yorker, October 22, 2007