Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success

classified PG

Manipulating The Message


Please note: This was screened in July 2017

Alexander Mackendrick
Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison
96 mins, 1957, USA

"It’s the city I grew up in. Sweet Smell Of Success has got the spirit of the city."

- Martin Scorsese on his favourite film set in New York.

Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis star in Alexander Mackendrick’s classic New York noir, a sharp satire on the grasping world of newspaper gossip columns.

Unprincipled press agent Sidney Falco (Curtis) has fallen out of favour with monster gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker (Lancaster), a man incestuously obsessed with destroying his kid sister's (Susan Harrison) romance with a jazz guitarist (Marty Miller). Totally under Hunsecker's thumb, Falco sets out to break up the relationship, seeding the public newspapers with rumour, innuendo and paranoia in a campaign to tarnish the musician's reputation by fair means or foul. But will it prove enough to get him back on side?

Featuring a script by Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets and the noirish neon cityscapes of Oscar®-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, this tale of corrupt and self-serving newspapermen is one of the most acerbic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Savage in its portrait of a mercenary press this is intelligent Hollywood cinema at its finest - and a damning portrait of human nature gone sour.

With thanks to Park Circus.