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.