IMDb > Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Sweet Smell of Success
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Sweet Smell of Success (1957) More at IMDbPro »

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Sweet Smell of Success -- Trailer for the classic drama Sweet Smell of Success, starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.

Overview

User Rating:
8.2/10   17,118 votes »
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Writers:
Clifford Odets (screenplay) and
Ernest Lehman (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Sweet Smell of Success on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 June 1957 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
They know him - and they shiver - the big names of Broadway, Hollywood and Capitol Hill. They know J.J.- the world-famed columnist whose gossip is gospel to sixty million readers! They know the venom that flickers in those eyes behind the glasses - and they fawn - like Sid Falco, the kid who wanted "in" so much, he'd sell out his own girl to stand up there with J.J., sucking in the sweet smell of success! This is J.J.'s story - but not the way he would have liked it told! See more »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
"You want information, ask for it like a man, instead of scratching for it like a dog." See more (104 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Burt Lancaster ... J.J. Hunsecker

Tony Curtis ... Sidney Falco
Susan Harrison ... Susan Hunsecker

Martin Milner ... Steve Dallas (as Marty Milner)
Jeff Donnell ... Sally
Sam Levene ... Frank D' Angelo
Joe Frisco ... Herbie Temple

Barbara Nichols ... Rita
Emile Meyer ... Lt. Harry Kello
Edith Atwater ... Mary
The Chico Hamilton Quintet ... Themselves
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nick Adams ... Customer at hot-dog stand (uncredited)
Jay Adler ... Manny Davis (uncredited)
Nicky Blair ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Nick Borgani ... Waiter (uncredited)
Ralph Brooks ... Patron at 21 (uncredited)
Steve Carruthers ... Patron at 21 (uncredited)
Robert Carson ... Lou - Headwaiter at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Lewis Charles ... Al Evans (uncredited)
Dick Cherney ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Buddy Clark ... Bassist in Chico Hamilton Quintet (uncredited)
Paul Cristo ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Joe Di Reda ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Lawrence Dobkin ... Leo Bartha (uncredited)

John Fiedler ... Counterman at Hot Dog Stand (uncredited)
William Forrest ... Sen. Harvey Walker (uncredited)
Joseph Forte ... Waiter at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Raoul Freeman ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)

Robert Fuller ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Joe Gray ... Patron at 21 Club (uncredited)
Chico Hamilton ... Himself - Chico Hamilton Quintet (uncredited)
James Hill ... Man Outside Theatre (uncredited)
Paul Horn ... Himself - Chico Hamilton Quintet (uncredited)
Charles Jordan ... Man at Hot Dog Stand (uncredited)
Fred Katz ... Himself - Chico Hamilton Quintet (uncredited)
Joseph La Cava ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Joseph Leon ... Joe Robard (uncredited)
Thomas Martin ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
Hans Moebus ... Patron at 21 (uncredited)
King Mojave ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
Sol Murgi ... Waiter (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
George Nardelli ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
Clifford Odets ... Man Outside Theatre (uncredited)
Charles Perry ... Stage Hand (uncredited)
Bill Raisch ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Waclaw Rekwart ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
Jane Ross ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Autumn Russell ... Linda James (uncredited)
Charles Sherlock ... Bartender at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Carson Smith ... Himself (uncredited)
Queenie Smith ... Mildred Tam (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Patron at 21 (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Nightclub Patron (uncredited)

Lurene Tuttle ... Loretta Bartha (uncredited)
Harry Tyler ... Coffee Shop Counter Man (uncredited)
Philip Van Zandt ... Radio Program Director (uncredited)

David White ... Otis Elwell (uncredited)

H.M. Wynant ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)

Directed by
Alexander Mackendrick 
 
Writing credits
Clifford Odets (screenplay) and
Ernest Lehman (screenplay)

Ernest Lehman (novella)

Alexander Mackendrick  uncredited

Produced by
James Hill .... producer
Tony Curtis .... executive producer (uncredited)
Harold Hecht .... executive producer (uncredited)
Burt Lancaster .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein 
 
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe (photographed by)
 
Art Direction by
Edward Carrere 
 
Set Decoration by
Edward G. Boyle  (as Edward Boyle)
 
Costume Design by
Mary Grant 
 
Makeup Department
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (as Robert Schiffer)
 
Production Management
Richard McWhorter .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Richard Maybery .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Robert G. Carlisle .... sound effects editor (as Robert Carlisle)
Jack Solomon .... sound recordist
 
Editorial Department
Alan Crosland Jr. .... editorial supervisor
 
Music Department
Elmer Bernstein .... conductor
Lloyd Young .... music editor
John Pisano .... musician: guitar dubbing, Martin Milner (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Harold Hecht .... presenter (as Hecht)
James Hill .... presenter (as Hill)
Burt Lancaster .... presenter (as Lancaster)
Thom Conroy .... dialogue director (uncredited)
Ruth McCrough Miller .... production assistant (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
96 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:16 | Netherlands:16 (original rating) (1958) | Sweden:15 | UK:PG | UK:A (original rating) | USA:Not Rated | USA:Approved (PCA #18585) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Robert Vaughn originally landed the part of Steve Dallas, but was drafted into the Army before he could film any footage.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Susan's coat when she's saying goodbye to Steve in the coffee shop towards the end of the movie. In one shot it's around only one of her shoulders, in the previous and next shots it's around both.See more »
Quotes:
Susan Hunsecker:Who could love a man who makes you jump into hoops like a trained poodle?See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
41 out of 45 people found the following review useful.
"You want information, ask for it like a man, instead of scratching for it like a dog.", 20 October 2005
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

The fact that in 1957 this film was made at all is proof that Walter Winchell's decline was already setting in. Burt Lancaster's J.J. Hunsecker based on Winchell and very frightening accurately portrays the columnist and the power he wielded.

For those who are interested in how Winchell got to where he was J.J. Hunsecker I would recommend Neal Gabler's biography of him which came out a few years ago. Sweet Smell of Success is the story of a day in the life of this monster who everyone on the planet it seems is terrified of offending. Like Winchell at the Stork Club, Hunsecker holds court like some monarch at a nightclub where people are obsequiously asking for some recognition in his column.

One of these is Sidney Falco, press agent and bootlicking dog extraordinaire. Hunsecker is mad at him because he sent him on an errand to break up a romance his younger sister is having with a jazz musician he doesn't approve of. The film is essentially Falco's attempts to carry out his master's wishes.

Burt Lancaster had already received critical acclaim as an actor, but this was a breakthrough role for Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco. Up to then Curtis was the handsome romantic lead in many lightweight films for his home studio of Universal. Sidney Falco was a lot of things, but heroic wasn't one of them. Next year Tony Curtis would get an Oscar nomination for The Defiant Ones. How Lancaster and Curtis were ignored by the Academy for nominations is beyond me.

The young lovers are Susan Harrison and Martin Milner. This was probably Marty Milner's finest screen role. As Lancaster was also the producer he personally cast Milner in the part having worked with him on Gunfight at the OK Corral. Susan Harrison strangely enough never had much of a career after a promising debut. She ultimately wreaks a terrible vengeance on one of our protagonists.

One of the ironic lines in the film is Lancaster saying that he'd fold up if he had to exist on a press agent's tidbits. But ironically that's how Winchell/Hunsecker did exist. Winchell had no real skill as a reporter as Gabler's biography pointed out. When the tidbits stopped, he dried up and blew away.

Sweet Smell of Success was a commercial flop, movie audiences did not take to the offbeat casting of the leads nor to the gritty realistic story. Today the film is a deserved classic.

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