Sweet Smell of Success - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Sweet Smell of Success Reviews

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½ January 31, 2015
Smart quipping back and forth showing the corrupt aspect of newspaper media.
½ January 26, 2015
Near Classic Film Derailed by Gutless Climax

This is a movie that gets so close to greatness, it's stunning! But, then, the writer gets scared and decides to throw in the towel in a spectacularly wrongheaded fashion in the film's final minutes.

I recently saw 2014's "Nightcrawler," a film about a sociopath so absolutely determined to get to the top of the TV news game that he will do anything, and I mean anything, to make it happen. The key with that film is how 100% committed writer/director Dan Gilroy is to, not only follow through with his character and his storyline to the final credits, he actually doubles-down!

Here, screenwriter / original novella writer Ernest Lehman first created two of the most reprehensible, irredeemable characters in film history. They are truly awful, Godless people. Then, [SPOILER] he bizarrely decides late in the film to punish them both for their villainy. First of all, it completely undercuts everything that came before. Castrating their evil comes across as though you as a writer weren't committed to it in the first place. Second, the way it is done is confusing and clumsy. Plus, it's quick and results in an abrupt ending to the film. [END SPOILER]

This is something that separates the men from the boys when it comes to film. Being willing to go all the way with the despicable characters you've created, or throwing in the towel at the last minute. "Sweet Smell of Success" gives up, while "Nightcrawler" charges full-steam ahead!

Apart from that issue, the film is beautifully made, with James Wong Howe's excellent black-and-white cinematography, Elmer Bernstein's film score and Alexander Mackendrick's direction.
January 20, 2015
Burt Lancaster y Tony Curtis son dos tipos sin prejuicios la peor lacra en este excelente film que no tiene pierde, 5 estrellas!
January 17, 2015
I love it so much. The character drawing of the 2 main characters make it one of the best media satires of all time.
January 4, 2015
An extraordinary, unrivalled, utterly cynical piece of Hollywood noir, as Tony Curtis' sleazoid press agent rubs up against Burt Lancaster's formidable J. J. Hunsecker, the Broadway columnist who can make or break careers. Ernest Lehmann was hired to adapt his own novella about the poisonous relationship between a publicist and a newspaper columnist, but fell ill during pre-production. Producer/star Burt Lancaster gambled on Clifford Odets, the left-wing playwright considered a wash-up after he'd testified at the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Odets located the dark heart of Lehmann's story and exaggerated it through diamond-cutting dialogue that sounds like the poetry of the Manhattan streets. 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.
½ December 25, 2014
With excellent leads and a tight screenplay, Sweet Smell of Success establishes its status as one of the greatest noir crime thrillers of all time.
½ November 23, 2014
The sweet smell of success in Sidney and J.J.'s eye is indeed a cancerous tumor.
November 9, 2014
This is my kind of film. Gut punch dialogue worthy of Chandler, sharp cinematography, swingin' music, killer actors, and a complex web of lies spread over its gloriously slimy world of darkness.
September 16, 2014
With an all star cast that creates all star roles this movie is one of the best. Sweet Smell of Success is a certified classic.From the opening credits to the climatic ending, the scintillating dialogue and the magnetic performances from both Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis this is Hollywood at its cerebral best. The king of the thinking mans cinema. Has better dialogue ever been written, the meetings between all the different characters that inhabit this world of shadows and intrigue, constantly draw the viewers attention to this masterpiece. When the so called film buffs compile there lists of the "best" films and so on, this should always be talked of in the top five and yet though recognised more as the years go by this is still a highly overlooked film. That Marlon Brando, De niro, Nicholson and the like should be recognised so often in said lists when Burt Lancaster in this film and in so many others has equalled or surpassed there best performances is a real scandal. Perhaps because this film strikes at the very heart of the establishment and shows the media and press up for the unscrupulous scum they are that this is one those fellows would like to forget. It is always difficult to look the truth of oneself in the mirror and this is one mirror the media should look very closely at. A masterpiece from Lancaster, who's courage never failed when making films and was always ready to tackle the kind of film making that lesser men would not have dared to, not to mention casting himself in a "bad guy" role that defied his heroic, handsome leading man status. Let us not forget that this is the same man who through out his life was never afraid to speak out on subjects that were important to him, a life long liberal and contemptuous of anyone who excepted limitation. I love this film and both Lancaster and the picture were far ahead of their time.This movie, like so many classics of its period, is great to view, in its own right - but doubly so as an historic, nostalgic view of a time past.
½ June 22, 2014
While both of the leads managed to be slimy and unsettling, it didn't feel like too much monumental happened over the course, and only the music really kept it going.
February 14, 2014
Curtis & Lancaster are a perfect dubious match, one of the best films of all time
½ January 18, 2014
Fast-talking noir. Deals in gossip and police corruption rather than murder, but somehow all the grimmer for it
January 1, 2014
J.J.Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) is a ruthless Manhattan columnist feeding off various press agents tid bits, especially from the insidious Sydney Falco (Tony Curtis) The dialogue is sizzlingly snappy and the direction demands your absolute attention. Some younger than me won't be impressed and will find it dated (1957)
December 5, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
November 26, 2013
It was ok, just was not that into it.
November 3, 2013
The great acting, incredible writing, and the perfect score all add up to a perfect film-noir.
½ October 28, 2013
There's a reason Burt Lancaster's character made the AFI villains list. Right from the beginning you want to punch out the egotistical, narcissistic J.J. Hunsecker. I felt his character was a tad over-the-top, however, as per usual for many of Lancaster's characters. Though he is seedy in his own right, Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) is almost the protaganist of the film. Though he is completely consumed with making a buck, even at the expense of an innocent person, there's a kind of sense of redemption you want him to experience. Alas, the angle about Hunsecker wanting his sister to break off her relationship with jazz musician Steve Dallas (Martin Milner of Adam-12 fame) wasn't really explored too in-depth as it pertains to the origin. Did Hunsecker just not like Dallas? Did he not like anybody who would date his sister? Or something else?
September 20, 2013
Another film that I'm happy to finally tick off the list courtesy of my enforced Movie Shame Monday viewings, and I'm happy to finally experience all of Tony Curtis' snappy dialog that I've heard quoted in numerous places over the years.

His fast talking press agent struggling to keep himself afloat was a helluva lot of fun to watch, and this is definitely a film that I will return to time and again.

Recommended.
½ August 17, 2013
I was expecting to see one of those "eat your veggies" type of movie, but it ended up being pretty fun, kind of like a good episode of Mad Men.

A cynical press agent anxiously looking to get attention for his clients has to make some guy he doesn't like a favor he doesn't really want to make: Break up his sister's relationship with a jazz musician.

I loved how well spoken the characters were, the insults were brilliant, the whole script in general was fantastic, a great example of incredible writing. The first 20 minutes or so were kind of slow in presenting all the characters, but once the on going insults and drama start it gets very entertaining.

My only problem with it was how anti-climatic the ending was, it left me wanting more, much more. I could've watched a lot more of what these characters had to offer, I wanted to see them all spiral down towards a tragic ending that I didn't get. It's still a great movie the film noir genre has to offer for any film lover who's a fan of that specific type of movie.

I'd recommend it to anyone who liked "The Network", "There Will Be Blood", "Magnolia", "Glengarry Glen Ross", "The Departed" and/or "Sin City".
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