January 18, 2017
Sweet Smell of Success.
Review #897: Sweet Smell of Success.
Burt Lancaster (J. J. Hunsecker), Tony Curtis (Sidney Falco), Susan Harrison (Susan Hunsecker), Martin Milner (Steve Dallas), Sam Levene (Frank D'Angelo), Barbara Nichols (Rita), Jeff Donnell (Sally), Joe Frisco (Herbie Temple), and Emile Meyer (Lt. Harry Kello) Directed by Alexander Mackendrick (#567 - The Ladykillers)
This is the kind of movie (often put under the category of film noir) that lures you and never seems to let go of your interest, even with character such as these and dialogue spoken in ways that are still as sharp as they were nearly 60 years after its release. Lancaster and Curtis are the perfect pair of leads that will make you recoil at their actions and how they convey them with the right sinister touch, where it's hard to tell who is more villainous and who is more pathetic. The way that the movie is shot is also another positive, where the lighting (particularly on Lancaster) really give the movie a certain feel that mike make one a bit squeamish, and for good reason. Harrison doesn't get much to do, but she certainly does a fine job at portraying a pawn in a movie all about schemes. Milner is also pretty decent at playing such a headstrong character that contrasts well enough with the rest of the characters. The supporting cast is also pretty good in making the atmosphere even more seedy. There is certainly a good degree of wit and pacing where you can be uncomfortable with the implications (read: actions) brought by the movie and still find the movie an achievement in film-making, with a good run time at 96 minutes as well. Mackendrick certainly manages to make a movie (based off a novelette by Ernest Lehman with the film written by Clifford Odets) worth watching, thick in its own layers of darkness within its cleverness. It's not a movie for anyone, but it is a movie worth watching, in part because of how well crafted it is, from the production values to the cast.
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Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars.