Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success

Director: Alexander MacKendrick Cast: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
4.6 6

DVD (Special Edition / Wide Screen / B&W)

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Sweet Smell of Success 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
A little background here: In the 1930's, there was a New York gossip columnist named Walter Winchell who catapulted to fame on the radio with his rapid-fire delivery of lurid tales involving actors and politicans of every stripe. This popularity continued until about the 1950's when he got involved in the Red Scare. He was especially hard on Hollywood filmmakers, like The Hollywood Ten. One such writer was Clifford Odets, who named names (who were already known, by the way) and felt guilty as hell about it. In 1957, he and a former press agent named Ernest Lehman wrote this film as a response to all that power that Winchell weilded. The result is "Sweet Smell Of Success", a lacerating film rooted in 1950's noir with its eyes planted firmly towards the present. The drama centers around an uber-desperate press agent named Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis), who lives out of his shabby office. Falco's job is to feed info to a mega-powerful gossip columnist named J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) in the hopes that Falco will get his name in Hunsecker's column. Lately, business has been bad. On top of that, Hunsecker's sister, Susan (Susan Harrison), has been dating a jazz musician (Martin Milner) whom Hunsecker despises. The relationship between J. J. and Susan almost borders on incestuous and how J. J. sets out to destroy that relationship is very much akin to how Walter Winchell destroyed his own daughter's relationship with a Broadway hustler. Lancaster and Curtis have rarely been better but it wouldn't have worked so well if they didn't have a biting, brutal script to go along with it. The script is loaded with memorable moments, most of which are delivered with Lancaster's acidity and Curtis' rapid-fire street-smartness. Even James Wong Howe's shadowy B&W photography is a marvel, adding to the film's noirish quality. This classic was the work of a British filmmaker named Alexander Mackendrick, who up until that time worked at The Ealing Studios and made Alec Guinness comedies like "The Ladykillers" and "The Man In The White Suit"; it should be mentioned this DVD has a great doc about his career and how he couldn't cope with the Hollywood studio system and quickly dropped out of filmmaking. Today, hardly anyone knows who Walter Winchell is, despite the fact that his gossipy style is copied in the guise of TMZ, Extra! and Entertainment Tonight. Considering the fact that Rotten Tomatoes gave this fifty-year-old film a 100% rating says a lot. That's because "Sweet Smell Of Success" speaks volumes about media manipulation. Loudly. By the way, when Walter Winchell died in 1972, only his daughter came out to mourn him. Many believe that the reason for that was because of this film and the lasting, arrogant impression it has on his memory.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sweet Smell Of Success is proof that when you make a movie about a sleazey tabloid reporter in the 1940's starring Burt Lancaster you can't go wrong. The film stars Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker a really trashy reporter who can single handedly destroy a celebrities life. I don't want to give away much of the plot because it will ruin the movie for you and you won't be suprised by some of the plot twists. I want to see the broadway show starring John Lithgow but I have some doubts because nobody can match Lancaster.