Sweet Smell of Success
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Sweet Smell of Success
Ernest Lehman drew upon his experiences as a Broadway press agent to write the devastating a clef short story "Tell Me About Tomorrow." This in turn was adapted by Lehman and Clifford Odets into the sharp-edged, penetrating feature film Sweet Smell of Success. Burt Lancaster stars as J. J. Hunsecker, a Walter Winchell-style columnist who wields his power like a club, steamrolling friends and enemies alike. Tony Curtis co-stars as Sidney Falco, a sycophantic press agent who'd sell his grandmother to get an item into Hunsecker's popular newspaper column. Hunsecker enlists… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Sweet Smell, which could have been offal, is raised to considerable dramatic heights by intense acting, taut direction (by Alexander Mackendrick), [and] superb camera work (by James Wong Howe)."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"The screen was rarely so dark or cruel."
‑ , Time Out
"Here lies the defective foundation of the American Dream as viewed from an implicitly American viewpoint - Bert Lancaster's company produced the film."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"... one of the most lacerating and vicious visions of the predatory urban world in the American cinema..."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Parallax View
"Masterful direction and cinematography are shown off in this restored version, with Bernstein's apt jazzy score nailing all the right notes."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"Mackendrick's nighthawk landscape is compellingly, poetically bleak."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"A lean, mean amorality tale that still goes down like a cookie laced with arsenic."
‑ Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News
"A meandering drama about the lure of success and the ignominious aggression of defeat."
‑ Wesley Lovell, Cinema Sight
"A masterpiece."
‑ , Film4
"Engaging, at times vicious drama w/Lancaster as acidic gossip monger, Curtis fine as wimpy sidekick."
‑ Steve Crum, Video-Reviewmaster.com
"James Hill's production, locationed in Manhattan, captures the feel of Broadway and environs after dark."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The main incentive to see this movie is its witty, pungent and idiomatic dialogue, such as you never hear on the screen anymore in this age of special-effects illiteracy."
‑ Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"It all begins with the title. The irony aside, its lightness and alliteration suggest the last breaths of one of the film's victims."
‑ Matthew Sorrento, Film Threat
"The film is a masterpiece, intelligent Hollywood cinema at its best."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"With some of the sharpest dialogue ever cut in Hollywood, only on the most superficial level is this a movie about gossip and publicity. We're talking show business. We're talking America. We're talking cast-iron classic."
‑ Colin Kennedy, Empire Magazine
More reviews for Sweet Smell of Success on Rotten Tomatoes