Sweet Smell of Success - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sweet Smell of Success Reviews

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March 16, 2017
Alexander MacKendrick at his finest -- or nearly! A fantastic film noir.
½ November 3, 2016
Sweet Smell of Success has a very important story, good character development, it is well made and so well acted plus the third act is very dramatic and intense, but everything that came before it wasn't as great, the film isn't that great of a noir film as it was too modern in my opinion, way too underutilized, a bit cold and ultimately overrated.
October 13, 2016
Stonkingly good. With slick and inventive dialogue and powerhouse performances, not to mention assured cinematography and editing, it deserves repeated viewings.
½ August 6, 2016
A tightly wound script about several self-absorbed, yet influential losers that prefer to stand in the way of happiness to maintain personal standing in the concrete jungle.
May 24, 2016
A sizzling and cynical patchwork made whole by the despicable Burt Lancaster and the tainted Tony Curtis.
May 6, 2016
Sweet Smell of Success is wall-to-wall with excellence, from its moody photography to its crafty direction to its first-rate performances.
April 1, 2016
Intense, compelling, relentless story of greed, cruelty, manipulation and power, set in a vibrant and beautifully shot Manhattan of jazz clubs and star columnists. Everything about the movie woks: the story, the cinematography, the music, the acting. A masterpiece.
March 20, 2016
Quite and entertaining noir film. Good performances and a decent story.
½ February 21, 2016
This movie seems dated as when using marijuana is treated as a major crime but Lancaster and Curtis are an amazing team. Did this occur after their performances in Trapeze. I was disappointed to learn that the team of Lancaster and Douglas was not based on friendship. But whatever their relationship off camera Curtis and Burt are wonderful here.
February 10, 2016
Slow burn, intense, drama - powerful performances. Worthy.
February 8, 2016
This movie conjures such a precise time and place you can smell it, and it's intoxicating. Impossibly cool and cynical dialogue that both sings and bruises, melded to pitch-perfect performances and a rich, sweet and sour evocation of '50s Manhattan that's both venal and hypnotic. A brilliant film with maybe no equals of its kind.
January 19, 2016
Scathing inquiry into the corruption of American Media, it does so with a dense script that makes its case completely and timelessly
Super Reviewer
½ November 16, 2015
The acting, the script, the direction, the energy. Stunning!
½ November 3, 2015
This film has some of the greatest dialogue I've ever heard in a movie. Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis are amazing.
½ September 7, 2015
Hollywood loves a movie about show business, which bloats this film's reputation a bit, still it is hard to look away from the despicable acts of these heartless characters
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2015
Why can't all films be made like they once were. The screenplay, acting, and cinematography are all top-notch and really elevate this classic to must see status. The New York night scenes are amazing and really lend an amazingly atmospheric feel to the film. Sharp dialog and even sharper schemes in the making, Sweet Smell of Success is amazing to behold. Highly Recommended!
½ July 10, 2015
One of my favorite scores and one that sticks in your head in a good way. Lancaster is the master
½ June 20, 2015
Brilliant writing and performances.
June 15, 2015
Sweet Smell of Success is about a press agent, played by Tony Curtis, who is willing to do anything in order to get his clients into the newspaper. As a result he tries to help a gossip columnist, played by Burt Lancaster, to break up the columnist's sister and her boyfriend. Yes, it is an entire film that revolves around a jealous brother who doesn't want to share his sister. Yet somehow the tone of the film and stellar performances by the actors elevates the simple story to be something better. It has a great look, and feels like it is an accurate depiction of life on the streets. The cinematography is stellar and I really feel the passion in all the lead actors. Tony Curtis is particularly slimy and unscrupulous, and even when he's in the background of a scene you can sense his feelings about what is going on. Perhaps one of the hardest scenes to watch is when he tries to act as pimp for another columnist by whoring out his girlfriend. I did struggle to enjoy Sweet Smell of Success, though, and not just because of that scene. It seemed that virtually every character was so overblown and dishonest that I really didn't like anyone in the film. It's tough to care when bad people are fighting with other bad people. However the real dilemma I had with this film is the dialogue. It was coming so rapid-fire that I struggled to follow along. Also they spoke in such elaborate prose that it was disingenuous and inauthentic. Real human beings don't speak in that kind of language, no matter what era this film took place in, and it seriously threw me off at times. I'd probably watch Sweet Smell of Success again if asked, and a second time through I might catch the rest of the dialogue I missed the first time, but it's not one that I feel any particular need to revisit despite the solid performances.
May 16, 2015
Rapid dialogue sets the tone for Sweet Smell of Success. Burt Lancaster produces and stars as the almighty newspaper columnist J.J. Hunsecker - a thinly veiled version of Walter Winchell. In a different time (1940s and 1950s), newspaper columnists commanded immense persuasive power, careers were built up and torn down overnight usually depending on the whims, grudges, or favors of a particular noted columnist or editor. Columnists can't be everywhere at once and they depend on a network of spies, interns, and friendly public officials to feed them information. Enter Tony Curtis' character Sidney Falco, a sleazy, neurotic, hounding press agent who is a slave to Hunsecker's will. Falco falls out of favor and will do anything to get Hunsecker's ear again; including selling his dignity, which he does over and over again. Hunsecker and Falco are positively medieval in their treatment of people's feelings even concerning members of their own family, such as Hunsecker's love-struck kid sister who has fallen for the wrong type of man (a guitar player) in Hunsecker's opinion. Hunsecker is played by Burt Lancaster, but despite Lancaster's best efforts this is Tony Curtis' film all the way. Lancaster is known for his diverse performances, but Curtis completely breaks type. Curtis shows audiences he can do more than romantic comedies. Undoubtedly a hectic film to shoot, Lancaster's firm produced the film and the cast and crew knew all too well the tyrannical nature of Lancaster as producer. Director Alexander Mackendrick pulls off a difficult script in short order with Clifford Odets re-writing almost all the dialogue and delivering it to the actors as soon as it came off the typewriter.
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