Sweet Smell Of Success


D: Alexander Mackendrick

United Artists (James Hill)

US 🇺🇸 1957

96 mins


W: Ernest Lehman & Clifford Odets

DP: James Wong Howe

Ed: Alan Crosland, Jr.

Mus: Elmer Bernstein

Tony Curtis (Sidney Falco), Burt Lancaster (J.J. Hunsacker), Susan Harrison (Susan Hunsacker), Martin Milner (Steve Dallas), Sam Levene (Frank D'Angelo), Barbara Nichols (Rita)

The ugly side of journalism uncovers its belly in this bitter drama from the 1950's, expertly penned by Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets.

Burt Lancaster received top billing as the bigger name at the time of production, but Tony Curtis takes the lead as Sidney Falco, a sleazy publicist who digs up the dirt for equally sleazy publisher, J.J. Hunsacker (said to based on real life gossip columnist, Walter Winchell).

The latest scandal in town concerns Hunsacker's sister, Susan and a jazz musician who she is dating, but it's all manipulated by J.J. Hunsacker & Sidney Falco who both have different reasons in succeeding in their relationship to break up.

Tony Curtis is perfectly vile as the sleazebag reporter and Burt Lancaster steals every scene he's in as the Machiavellian J.J. Hunsacker. 

The screenplay is perfectly packed with some superb dialogue and Elmer Bernstein's jazzy score compliments James Wong Howe's cinematography brilliantly.

One of the ten best films of 1957, a year which gave us an embarrassment of riches as far as cinema is concerned.


Tony Curtis & Burt Lancaster in Sweet Smell Of Success
Tony Curtis & Burt Lancaster in Sweet Smell Of Success