Review of Sweet Smell of Success


I finally got a chance to see this classic film-noir and the wait was worth it.  This is a very cool movie that has all the things that make a film-noir so amazing.  I have to say this has some of the best dialog of any movie ever.

“If you’re funny, Walter, I’m a pretzel! Drop dead!”

“Don’t remove the gangplank, Sidney – you may wanna get back onboard.”

“That’s fish four days old. I won’t buy it!”

and of course the most famous line:

“I’d hate to take a bite outta you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic.”

There is many more great lines in this movie, I could list another 100 and not cover them all.  I can see why this made a few Empire Magazine top 100 lists.  The reason I was so excited to see this film was Burt Lancaster, he is one of my favorite actors and his performance was great as the evil J.J., but Tony Curtis really surprised me and took over this film.

This movie had a lot of controversy when it came out.  It was based on Walter Winchell, a famous columnist in New York City with lots of pull.  Though this film changes Winchell’s daughter for J.J.’s sister, the story is based on some true events.  Winchell was still a powerful man in media when this was made, making it a risk to make.  Burt Lancaster produced this himself to get it made.  This was also Curtis’s first real acting challenge and showed his talent(before this he was thought of more as a pretty face and not a serious actor).  This also was a different role for Lancaster where he was essentially a bad guy, this went against his normal hero role in the film.  It ended up helping his career as well because it showed he had more sides to his acting talents then people thought.  Thank you Turner Classic Movies for still showing these great movies, most of these are not at our local DVD store.  If you haven’t seen this one put it on your Netflix Queue you will not be disappointed.