Alexander Mackendrick

Sweet Smell of Success

Sweet Smell of Success

In the swift, cynical Sweet Smell of Success, directed by Alexander Mackendrick, Burt Lancaster stars as the vicious Broadway gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent Hunsecker ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician romancing his beloved sister. Featuring deliciously unsavory dialogue, in an acid, brilliantly structured script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, and noirish neon cityscapes from Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, Sweet Smell of Success is a cracklingly cruel dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan.

Film Info

Special Features

  • Exclusive new digital restoration from the original 35 mm camera negative, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary featuring film scholar James Naremore
  • Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away, a 1986 documentary featuring interviews with director Alexander Mackendrick, actor Burt Lancaster, producer James Hill, and others
  • James Wong Howe: Cinematographer, a 1973 documentary about the Oscar-winning director of photography, featuring lighting tutorials with Howe
  • New video interview with film critic and historian Neal Gabler (Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity) about legendary columnist Walter Winchell, inspiration for the character J. J. Hunsecker
  • New video interview with filmmaker James Mangold about Mackendrick, his instructor and mentor
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Gary Giddins, notes about the film and two short stories introducing its characters by screenwriter Ernest Lehman, and an excerpt about Clifford Odets from Mackendrick’s book On Film-making, introduced by the book's editor, Paul Cronin

New cover by Sean Phillips

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • Exclusive new digital restoration from the original 35 mm camera negative, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New audio commentary featuring film scholar James Naremore
  • Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away, a 1986 documentary featuring interviews with director Alexander Mackendrick, actor Burt Lancaster, producer James Hill, and others
  • James Wong Howe: Cinematographer, a 1973 documentary about the Oscar-winning director of photography, featuring lighting tutorials with Howe
  • New video interview with film critic and historian Neal Gabler (Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity) about legendary columnist Walter Winchell, inspiration for the character J. J. Hunsecker
  • New video interview with filmmaker James Mangold about Mackendrick, his instructor and mentor
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic Gary Giddins, notes about the film and two short stories introducing its characters by screenwriter Ernest Lehman, and an excerpt about Clifford Odets from Mackendrick’s book On Film-making, introduced by the book's editor, Paul Cronin

New cover by Sean Phillips

Sweet Smell of Success
Cast
Burt Lancaster
J. J. Hunsecker
Tony Curtis
Sidney Falco
Susan Harrison
Susan Hunsecker
Marty Milner
Steve Dallas
Jeff Donnell
Sally
Sam Levene
Frank D’Angelo
Joe Frisco
Herbie Temple
Barbara Nichols
Rita
Emile Meyer
Harry Kello
Edith Atwater
Mary
The Chico Hamilton Quintet
The Chico Hamilton Quintet
David White
Otis Elwell
Lawrence Dobkin
Leo Bartha
Lurene Tuttle
Mrs. Bartha
Queenie Smith
Mildred Tam
Autumn Russell
Linda
Jay Adler
Manny Davis
Lewis Charles
Al Evans
Credits
Director
Alexander Mackendrick
Producer
James Hill
Music scored and conducted by
Elmer Bernstein
Photographed by
James Wong Howe
Screenplay
Clifford Odets
Screenplay
Ernest Lehman
From the novelette by
Ernest Lehman
Art director
Edward Carrere
Editorial supervision
Alan Crosland Jr.
Songs
Chico Hamilton
Songs
Fred Katz
Production manager
Richard McWhorter
Assistant director
Richard Maybery
Costumes designed by
Mary Grant
Set decorator
Edward Boyle
Makeup
Robert Schiffer
Effects editor
Robert Carlisle
Music editor
Lloyd Young
Sound recording
Jack Solomon

From The Current

Sweet Smell of Success: The Fantastic Falco
Sweet Smell of Success: The Fantastic Falco
It wasn’t intended. No one could have predicted it. But Sweet Smell of Success turned out to be a terminus where several movie genres and subgenres converged and curdled, producing a uniquely delicious perfume of everlasting cynicism. Inhale deep…

By Gary Giddins

A Visit to James Mangold’s Office
A Visit to James Mangold’s Office
If you’ve read Faber & Faber’s 1998 publication of the Sweet Smell of Success screenplay, you already know from the book’s afterword that director James Mangold (Girl, Interrupted; Walk the Line) studied under the late filmmaker Alexander M…

By Curtis Tsui

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