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Sweet Smell of Success
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A powerful film about a ruthless journalist and an unscrupulous press agent who'll do anything to achieve success, this fascinating, compelling story (The Hollywood Reporter) crackles with 'taut direction and whiplash dialogue (Time). Bristling with vivid performances by Curtis and Lancaster, this gutsy exposÃ(c) of big-city corruption is a timeless classic that cuts deep and sends a chilling message. It's late at night in the steamy, neon-lit streets of New York's Times Square, and everything's buzzing with nervous energy. But press agent Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) is oblivious to the whirlwind of street vendors, call girls and con men bustling around him as he nervously waits for the early edition of The Globe. Whose career did gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) launch today...and whose did he destroy?
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Also front and center is the extraordinary black and white photography by one of the greatest camerapeople ever, James Wong Howe. Some of these night shots of New York were even shot surreptitiously by Howe. The look and feel of the film is one of a Noir, but a late 1950s one -- with great views of New York in that era -- Times Square, Nedicks, etc.
This is a cinematic classic, with incredibly sparkling noir-style dialogue, that flows like wine out of the mouths of Lancaster and Curtis. And why not? It was written by veteran screenwriter Ernst Lehmann and famed playwright Clifford Odets. Susan Harrison also deserves a nod in the role of Lancaster's sister. The new Criterion transfer has the richest, tightest visual quality I've ever seen in this film. See it!
Sweet Smell of Success should be included in the viewing repertoire of all serious students of mid-20th century American film.
Criterion has presented a gorgeous reproduction of this film that any true movie lover should be thrilled to have. The supplementary materials included are equally rewarding and only further your appreciation of this masterpiece. For the aspiring filmmaker in-training the James Wong Howe interview and lighting workshop will be of particular interest, as well as the Scottish television produced segment on director Alexander Mackendrick.
All this and more await the fortunate soul who invests in this thoroughly impressive film and DVD presentation.
For a further in-depth review of this DVD, as well as many more, I recommend checking out [...]