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

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8.2/10   15,767 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 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Classic 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)
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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


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
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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 (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:
Gossip columnist Elwell (David White) is also a character in "Playhouse 90: The Comedian (#1.20)" (1957). Both productions are from material by Ernest Lehman.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: Susie's hair during the cab journey to her apartment with Sidney.See more »
Quotes:
J.J. Hunsecker:Manny, what exactly are the UNSEEN gifts of this lovely young thing that you manage?
Manny Davis:Well, she sings a little... you know, sings...
Linda James:Manny's faith in me is simply awe-inspiring, Mr. Hunsecker. Actually, I'm still studying, but...
J.J. Hunsecker:What subject?
Linda James:Singing, of course... straight concert and...
J.J. Hunsecker:[glance flicks between the Girl and the Senator] Why "of course"? It might, for instance, be politics...
Linda James:Me? I mean "I"? Are you kidding, Mr. Hunsecker? With my Jersey City brains?
J.J. Hunsecker:The brains may be Jersey City, but the clothes are Traina-Norell.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Cop Land (1997)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
28 out of 33 people found the following review useful.
Classic, 3 May 2005
Author: MatBrewster from United States

Read all my reviews at www.midnitcafe.blogspot.com This is the kind of film that could coin an expression like "They don't make 'em like that anymore," except that people have been using that line for every piece of crap that was made more than two years ago. Go ahead and say it to yourself, and I'll say that David Mamet's Glengarry, Glen Ross comes close. Both feature snarling, biting dialog. Both have irredeemable characters that will do anything for success. Mamet's characters are mostly down-and-outers who are scrapping at each other to find some sampling of their former successes. In Sweet Smell of Success there are successful characters and losers, both of which need each other to survive. It is a tale of a successful columnist and his need for a low life press agent. It is a bitter, bleak story of power, success and the desire to have more.

Burt Lancaster plays JJ Hunsecker, a powerful, successful columnist who is at the top of his game. He gets what he wants, when he wants it with no questions asked. He can make or break celebrities with a quick blurb in his column. He dines with politicians and gets any girl he wants. Tony Curtis is Sidney Falco, a low rent press agent who needs Lancaster's blurbs for his clients to keep in business. Problem is, Hunsecker has cut Falco out of his columns because Falco hasn't delivered on a deal they made. Though Hunsecker can garner the love and admiration of anyone he chooses, the one woman he cannot win over is his own sister. As he repeatedly says throughout the film, she's all he has. Problem is she is in love with a jazz singer, and they plan to marry. Hunsecker can't bear the thought of losing his sister, so he forces Falco to get rid of the boy by any means necessary.

The film is relentless. From beginning to end it never stops its pounding. There is never a breath of kindness. The two characters with some redeeming characteristics Hunsecker's sister, Susan (Susan Harrison) and her boyfriend, Steve Dallas (Martin Milner), are so overshadowed by the continual foul play by Hunsecker and Falco that they come away with a foul stench.

Tony Curtis pulls a performance that reminded me of his turn as the Boston Strangler. It is not difficult to see his Falco turning to murder if it helped him succeed. Though as the strangler, he seems to have found some remorse for his actions, where Falco is irredeemable to the very end.

There is a seen in the middle of the picture where Falco pulls a trick to convince a mid level performer to make Falco his press agent. At this point Falco needs all the clients he can get. Later the performer comes to Falco, ready to sign him as his agent. Falco, now feeling some signs of success brushes the performer off without a second thought. It is a telling scene of just how heartless and uncaring Falco has become.

Where has Burt Lancaster been all my life? Sadly enough, the only film I can remember watching him in is the 1986 toss-off comedy Tough Guys. His performance here is nothing short of astonishing. He is the king of his castle, never stepping off his high throne, treating everyone as servants. Even his shows of affection for Susan are grotesque and menacing.

This is a story that his hard to watch. It is brutal, and menacing with nary a redeeming aspect. But it is a film that must be watched. The craftsmanship of the filmmakers and the performances of the actors elevate it above so many others. It is nearly a morality tale of the horrors that befall humanities greed.

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