Sweet Smell of Success (1957) Poster

Burt Lancaster: J.J. Hunsecker



  • J.J. Hunsecker : You're dead, son. Get yourself buried.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : I'd hate to take a bite outta you. You're a cookie full of arsenic.

  • [holding an unlit cigarette] 

    J.J. Hunsecker : Match me, Sidney.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Mr. Falco, let it be said at once, is a man of 40 faces, not one - none too pretty, and all deceptive. You see that grin? That's the, eh, that's the Charming Street Urchin face. It's part of his helpless act: he throws himself upon your mercy. He's got a half-dozen faces for the ladies. But the one I like, the really cute one, is the quick, dependable chap. Nothing he won't do for you in a pinch - so he says. Mr. Falco, whom I did not invite to sit at this table tonight, is a hungry press agent, and fully up to all the tricks of his very slimy trade.

    [Pulls out an unlit cigarette and faces Falco] 

    J.J. Hunsecker : Match me, Sidney.

    Sidney Falco : Not right this minute, J.J.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : I love this dirty town.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Son, I don't relish shooting a mosquito with an elephant gun, so why don't you just shuffle along?

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Everybody knows Manny Davis - except Mrs. Manny Davis.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Sidney, this syrup you're giving out with... you pour over waffles, not J.J. Hunsecker.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Look, Manny, you rode in here on the Senator's shirt tails, so shut your mouth!

    Sen. Harvey Walker : Now, come, J.J., that's a little too harsh. Anyone seems fair game for you tonight.

    J.J. Hunsecker : This man is not for you, Harvey, and you shouldn't be seen with him in public. Because that's another part of a press agent's life - he digs up scandal among prominent men and shovels it thin among columnists who give him space.

    Sen. Harvey Walker : There is some allusion here that escapes me...

    J.J. Hunsecker : We're friends, Harvey - we go as far back as when you were a fresh kid Congressman, don't we?

    Sen. Harvey Walker : Why does everything you say sound like a threat?

    J.J. Hunsecker : Maybe it's a mannerism - because I don't threaten friends, Harvey. But why furnish your enemies with ammunition? You're a family man. Someday, with God willing, you may wanna be President. Now here you are, Harvey, out in the open where any hep person knows that this one...

    [points at Manny Davis] 

    J.J. Hunsecker : [points at Linda James]  ... is toting THAT one...

    J.J. Hunsecker : [points at Senator]  around for you.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Harvey, I often wish I were deaf and wore a hearing aid. With a simple flick of a switch, I could shut out the greedy murmur of little men.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Sidney, conjugate me a verb. For instance, "to promise."

  • 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.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : What's this boy got that Susie likes?

    Sidney Falco : Integrity - acute, like indigestion.

    J.J. Hunsecker : What does that mean - integrity?

    Sidney Falco : A pocket fulla firecrackers - looking for a match!


    Sidney Falco : It's a new wrinkle, to tell the truth... I never thought I'd make a killing on some guy's "integrity."

  • J.J. Hunsecker : President? My big toe would make a better President!

  • Sidney Falco : If I'm gonna go out on a limb for you, you gotta know what's involved!

    J.J. Hunsecker : My right hand hasn't seen my left hand in thirty years.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Now don't kid a kidder.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Stop tinkering pal, that horseradish won't jump a fence.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Don't remove the gangplank, Sidney - you may wanna get back onboard.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Well son, it looks like we have to call this game on account of darkness.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : How do you spell Picasso, the French painter?

    [Taps out three letters on his manual typewriter upon hearing Sidney's response] 

    J.J. Hunsecker : It's an item - I hear he goes out with three-eyed girls.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Here's your head; what's your hurry?

  • J.J. Hunsecker : Yes, Sidney. You sound happy, Sidney. Why should you be happy when I'm not? How do you spell Picasso, the painter? One S or two?

    Sidney Falco : Two.

  • Sidney Falco : Sure, the columnists can't do without us, except our good and great friend J.J. forgets to mention that. You see, we furnish him with items.

    J.J. Hunsecker : What, some cheap, gruesome gags?

    Sidney Falco : You print 'em, don't ya?

    J.J. Hunsecker : Yes, with your clients' names attached. That's the only reason the poor slobs pay you - to see their names in my column all over the world. Now, I make it out, you're doing *me* a favor?... The day I can't get along without a press agents' handouts, I'll close up shop and move to Alaska, lock, stock, and barrel.

  • J.J. Hunsecker : I like Harry, but I can't deny he sweats a little.

See also

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