List Film

Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell Of Success
  • 1957
  • US
  • 96 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Alexander Mackendrick
  • Written by: Ernest Lehman (novelette), Clifford Odets, Ernest Lehman
  • Cast: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis

Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman scripted this brilliant study of the destructive effect of power. 'Sweet Smell of Success' tells the story of Sidney Falco (Curtis), a slimy publicist worming his way to the top via venomous newspaper columnist J.J Hunsecker (Lancaster). The two leads are brilliantly cast against type; James Wong Howe's photography of Broadway at night is as evocative as film noir ever got, while Elmer Bernstein's crime jazz score (with contributions from the Chico Hamilton Quintet) completes the impression of a filthy, corrupt city. Astonishingly, the whole film was pulled together by Scotsman Alexander Mackendrick, who until this time was best known for whimsical Ealing comedies.

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Reviews & features

Five reasons to see the films of Alexander Mackendrick

20 Nov 2012

The director of Whisky Galore! and Sweet Smell of Success is the subject of a retrospective

It’s the centenary of the birth of the Scottish-American filmmaker who became one of Ealing studios’ greatest directors. Born in Boston, Massachusetts to Scottish immigrant parents, Mackendrick moved back to Glasgow with his grandfather when he was just…

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