Monday, November 9, 2009

Movie Of The Week: Sweet Smell Of Success

Sweet Smell Of Success
1957

"I am tasting my favorite new perfume - success!"
This is my favorite line in the whole movie, the way Tony Curtis says it amongst all of his other lines. He sums up his hopes in his words but also the despair and near regret he feels after all he's done in the look in his blue eyes.
Sidney Falco(Curtis)-a press agent- is working for the admiration and success being on the good side of J.J. Hunsceker (Burt lancaster)-the manipulative broadway columnist who makes or breaks people- can bring.
Hunsceker has a problem, his little sister -who he is very protective of- has fallen in love with a guitarist he can't stand. His ways are always persuasive, yet his sister hasn't left this guitarist no matter how much he makes it known that he dislikes him. He enlists Sidney's help for the promise of Hunsceker's admiration. he has desperate ambition, which he loathes and yet loves also.
What unfolds is a spirl of immoral actions, regret, lies, and deceit.
The way that Tony Curtis so desperately searches for his ambition and ultimately finds himself commiting acts he never would, leaves me breathless. He easily captures the character in a way no one else would have. Burt Lancaster is perfect as he so easily manipulates and corrupts those around him. He does it almost without care. His only soft spot being the devotion he has for his sister. His sister who is played effortlessly by Susan Harrison.
This movie is one of my favorites because of the way it has a grittiness to it over the immoral and unjust ambition of some, and the tender , almost oblivious ways of the others. It shows the effects of sheer desperate ambition, doing whatever it takes to get ahead, and the result of holding people in the palm of your hand. It is a masterpiece. The lingo of the movie is unique, the way the actors effortlessly play out their roles is perfect. And the fact that Hunsceker is based on a true life columnist is astounding. It is one of the best movies I have seen. And it caught me all with the opening shot of New York City.

1 comment:

  1. I love this film. Great writeup on it. I haven't seen it in ages though. It's one I wouldn't mind checking out again.

    ReplyDelete