8.2/10
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137 user 119 critic

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:

Clifford Odets (screenplay), Ernest Lehman (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:
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 ... 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:

Lie for it...cheat for it...drink to it...the sweet, sweet smell of success! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 July 1957 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sweet Smell of Success See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original budget of $600,000 eventually ballooned to $2,600,000. See more »

Goofs

Microphone shadow during coffee shop scene with Steve and Susan. See more »

Quotes

Sidney Falco: If you're funny, Walter, I'm a pretzel! Drop dead!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film '72: Episode #44.1 (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Oh, Those GREAT NY Scenes!
16 September 2004 | by chconnolSee 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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