Thursday, April 4, 2013

328. Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success
Directed by Alexander Mackendrick

I was familiar with Mackendrick's so called comedies before this movie, but I had never seen any of his dramas.  I was nervous about this movie because I hated his previous films.  However, Mackendrick's inability to be funny actually came in handy with this movie, which was a very compelling drama.

This is one of those stories where every person is just awful.  This is usually not my kind of thing; call me a sap but I like having a hero in the story.

Anyway, JJ Hunsecker blackmails a columnist into ruining his sister's fiancé.  It is sort of like a Shakespearean tragedy in that there a lot of schemes and it the end everything goes to hell.

First of all, Burt Lancaster is freaking terrifying.  He had the kind of look in this film that I associate with serial killers.  Take a look:
I mean, what a creep.  Anyway, the book says that Hunsecker had a incestous love for his sister, which makes the whole story even sicker.

So did I like it?  Well, it was certainly entertaining and with stars like Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster, you really cannot go wrong.  Still, it was kind of disturbing and left a bad taste in my mouth.  This is one that I might have to think about for a couple days and then come back to.

RATING: ***--(for now)

Interesting Facts:

Hunsecker was based on Walter Winchell.

"I'd hate to take a bite out of you.  You're a cookie full of arsenic." is ranked #99 in Premiere's Greatest Movie Lines of All Time.


  1. This movie just had awesome lines. At one point one grown man called another grown man a pretzel. Amazing.

  2. This film is one of my personal favourites. The dialogue is exceptional. There were a few films around this time (most notably All About Eve) that make me lament that they don't write scripts like that any more. Apparently he was often sitting on the set with a typewriter finishing the lines before handing over the piece of paper straight to the actors to be filmed.

  3. I know what you mean. Right after watching a movie I am always conflicted on what I thought about the movie. It needs to settle and I usually have to wait a day otherwise I will change my mind three or four times before I am done with the review. This movie was such a case in particular. At the end of the movie I found it repulsive, but the more I though about it the more I liked or at least respected it. It presses some subtle buttons.