Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
Critic Consensus: Sweet Smell of Success boasts a top-notch cast, sharp direction, atmospheric cinematography, and an appropriately jazzy score, making it one of the best noir crime thrillers ever made.
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as J.J. Hunsecker
as Sidney Falco
as Susan Hunsecker
as Steve Dallas
as Harry Kello
as Herbie Temple
as Leo Bartha
as Mrs. Bartha
as Mildred Tam
as Manny Davis
as Al Evans
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Critic Reviews for Sweet Smell of Success
Sweet Smell, which could have been offal, is raised to considerable dramatic heights by intense acting, taut direction (by Alexander Mackendrick), [and] superb camera work (by James Wong Howe).
James Hill's production, locationed in Manhattan, captures the feel of Broadway and environs after dark.
New York never looked as thrillingly sordid as it does in this scabrous masterpiece.
Audience Reviews for Sweet Smell of Success
A double-barrelled shotgun in the face of celebrity press and American societal values itself, the film snaps, crackles, and pops with its depiction of a Broadway publicist's crawl to the top and what he does to get there. Curtis and Lancaster make Darth Vader and Hannibal Lector seem like Disney friends.
The word tense doesn't even begin to describe Alexander Mackendrick's psychologically unsettling masterpiece Sweet Smell of Success. Carrying perhaps the best performances of both Burt Lancaster's and Tony Curtis' careers, the film is a brilliant take on the real life persona of Walter Winchell, but also, a personal journey for its two leads. At the end of the film, Lancaster's character loses his only living thread to humanity and Sidney Falco, as played by Curtis, loses in his fight to get ahead and pays for all of his wrongdoings. It's such a fantastic work from beginning to end. You can cut the tension in the story with a knife. I sat with a sick feeling in my stomach the entire time and was relieved at the end. Few films have ever done that to me.
About as hard edged as a movie can be. As a look at a group of venal people it can't be beat but this is a very loathsome group so spending any time with them could never be described as a pleasant experience. Burt and Tony both give outstanding performances, the whole cast is very fine, but the wonderful Barbara Nichols stands out in her brief scenes as a sad sweet girl who has been treated badly by life, one of the few people in the picture who engenders any sympathy.
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