Sweet Smell Of Success (1957)

ALEXANDER MACKENDRICK

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5

USA, 1957.  Norma Productions, Curtleigh Productions.  Screenplay by , , based on the novella by Ernest Lehman.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Combine fantastic on-location photography by James Wong Howe, a jazzy score by Elmer Bernstein and a noir-ish plot written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman (upon whose novelette the film is based) and you have a darn fine film. Tony Curtis gives a powerhouse performance as a bottom-feeding press agent who sees great opportunities in helping out bigwig columnist Burt Lancaster with his family problems; it seems the newspaper man wants to stop his sister from continuing to see her badass guitarist boyfriend. Sound seedy? Oh yeah, and more! Everything, from the sleazy nightlife down to the brassy blondes with easy virtue is brought to life with sophistication and, surprising for its time, brass-balled honesty (which is probably because it was an independent production). The film was more recently adapted to the Broadway stage as a musical.

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