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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

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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:
Brilliantly Oppressive Film-Noir 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)
Ralph Brooks ... Patron at 21 (uncredited)
Robert Carson ... Lou - Headwaiter at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Lewis Charles ... Al Evans (uncredited)
Buddy Clark ... Bassist in Chico Hamilton Quintet (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)

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)
Mike Lally ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
Joseph Leon ... Joe Robard (uncredited)
Thomas Martin ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
Forbes Murray ... Patron at Toots Shor's (uncredited)
William H. O'Brien ... Waiter at 21 (uncredited)
Clifford Odets ... Man Outside Theatre (uncredited)
Bill Raisch ... Patron at Toots Shor's (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:
When Tony Curtis and Lancaster are sitting at the table, and Lancaster says "Match me, Sidney", sitting across the table is Mel Blanc playing "Manny". It's ironic that the great voice actor, says only a couple of words.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:
J.J. Hunsecker:I like Harry, but I can't deny he sweats a little.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
69 out of 76 people found the following review useful.
Brilliantly Oppressive Film-Noir, 2 March 2005
Author: Thomas W. Muther, Jr. (twm-2) from Topeka, KS

**MILD SPOILERS** It is amazing the number of different ways a great film can weave its alluring web and pull you into its story. Of my 100 favorite films, this one's journey into that rarefied status is unique, based on but a single viewing. I saw "Sweet Smell of Success" when I was too young to really grasp the subterranean motivations of the characters who so vividly populate the film. I did not understand, for instance, why this powerful, loathsome gossip columnist, Burt Lancaster's JJ Hunsecker, who so clearly despised Tony Curtis' Sidney Falco (press agent), nonetheless tolerated his presence. There was much that I DID appreciate--the brilliant and daring acting of the two leads, the beautifully oppressive cinematography, and the scintillating dialogue--but after that single viewing, the film slowly faded from my consciousness. Twenty-five or 30 years later, I decided to make a list of my favorite movies, and came across the title of this film. Apparently, memories of seeing this production had been roiling around my unconscious all this time and now, triggered by the little blurb in the Leonard Maltin book, these half-forgotten images came bounding back into mind, now concatenated with a quarter century of life and movie-going experience. Honing my list over the next few months, and considering this film's merits, I more and more began to realize what a truly marvelous work this was. This was a study nonpareil of two creatures wholly wrapped up in themselves and their ambition, yet bound together in a mutual parasitism (the term symbiosis sounds much too nice to describe their relationship). I understood, finally, why JJ tolerated Falco's presence. He NEEDED Falco. It wasn't just that Falco would occasionally offer up tidbits that he could use in his column. It wasn't that the fawning Falco could be manipulated into performing certain . . . uh, tasks that were too dirty for JJ to touch. No, as a ruthless power-monger, he needed the treacherous sycophant as a constant reminder and test of his superiority. Falco could be demeaned and ridiculed, but he also represented a danger, a challenge. Falco might be a toady, but he was also a cobra waiting his chance to strike, and Hunsecker relished his role as sadistic snake charmer. Watching these two play at their oppressive games of perfidy, and dealing dirt, provide a fascinating character study perhaps the equal of the more famous examination of one Charles Foster Kane in an earlier film. There are many other characters in the movie, such as JJ's sister and her lover, and some are played with great aplomb, but they are all pawns in this disdainful dance between JJ and Falco, and it is their personalities that stay with you long after the lights come back on.

Everything about this movie seems to be nearly perfect (some have criticised the film for the relatively weak portrayal of the two hapless lovers, but a stronger emphasis on these two would only detract from the real focus--JJ and Sidney) even to the choice of names. JJ Hunsecker and Sidney Falco seem perfect monikers, by themselves conjuring up images of despicable parasites. Unfortunately, for the team that put together this masterpiece of film-noir, "Sweet Smell of Success" was no success, and critics and movie-goers alike left the theaters convinced that the "smell" generated by the film was far from sweet. Amazingly, this film not only failed to garner an Oscar, it failed to receive a single solitary nomination--not for Alexander Mackendrick's direction (this abject failure truncating his promising career), not for the incisive, endlessly quotable screenplay (Ernest Lehman & Clifford Odets), not Elmer Bernstein's wonderful score, nor the tremendous performances of Curtis and Lancaster--not even James Wong Howe's gritty cinematography, beautifully capturing the seamier side of New York City. Fortunately, history has stepped in to provide a more accurate critique of this once ignored masterpiece. I can hardly wait to see it a second time.

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