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Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir | 4 July 1957 (USA)
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Powerful but unethical Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker coerces unscrupulous press agent Sidney Falco into breaking up his sister's romance with a jazz musician.

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Susan Hunsecker
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Steve Dallas (as Marty Milner)
...
Sally
...
Frank D' Angelo
...
Herbie Temple
...
Rita
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Lt. Harry Kello
...
Mary
The Chico Hamilton Quintet ...
The Chico Hamilton Quintet
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Storyline

J.J. Hunsecker, the most powerful newspaper columnist in New York, is determined to prevent his sister from marrying Steve Dallas, a jazz musician. He therefore covertly employs Sidney Falco, a sleazy and unscrupulous press agent, to break up the affair by any means possible. Written by David Levene <D.S.Levene@durham.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The almighty J.J. ...the columnist with sixty million believers ...his wrath is feared by the great and near great who worship the sweet smell of success! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 July 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dein Schicksal in meiner Hand  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 2000, on their self-titled album, rock band Kitty Kat Stew released a song called "Cookie Full Of Arsenic". The song's lyrics relate to the movie and incorporates a snippet of its actual dialogue, featuring the famous line. See more »

Goofs

When Sidney is trying to see the column in advance, the position of the secretary changes. This is when she moves the copy from one side of the desk to the other. See more »

Quotes

Sidney Falco: You're walking around blind, Frank, without a cane.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Breaking Bad: ...And the Bag's in the River (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Oh, Those GREAT NY Scenes!
16 September 2004 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

Another poster "stole" the one line summary I wanted to use: "Match me, Sidney." Damn. It's one of the best lines in the movie. Oh, well.

"Sweet Smell of Success" is a great, wildly entertaining movie. It reminds me of "Dangerous Liasons" in both it's subject ("bad" people making life worse for more decent folk) and how swiftly and imaginatively directed it is. It's juicy from beginning to end. Burt Lancaster is once again terrific as J.J. Hunsecker, Walter Winchell-esque writer of a "society" column which is more of a tool of destruction for those who cross his path.

But it's Tony Curtis who holds the movie together. Always scheming and plotting and never letting a decent human emotion take precedence over his drive to succeed at any cost. He's Marvelous and was never again to achieve what he did here.

But there's a third star to this production and it's New York City itself. The on location photography is stunning. What is amazing is that at the time the movie was made (1957) on location filming was just becoming "in vogue". For a film like this, it HAD to filmed on location or else it's power would be substantially diluted. I work in Manhattan near where a lot of this film was made (J.J. lives in the Brill Building which is on Broadway between 49th and 50th Streets, right around the corner from me). To see what the neighborhood looked like over 40 years ago is amazing. Surprisingly, it's the astonishing on site photography that prevents the film from really feeling dated. Also, the themes in the film are timeless as well.

"Sweet Smell of Success" is a classic from top to bottom.


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