0 Love It

Sweet Smell of Success (1957), starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis (VIDEO)

Watch the trailer for Sweet Smell of Success, starring Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis; No. 2 on our list of the 100 best New York movies.

New York movies: Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Deliciously lethal—like a “cookie full of arsenic”—this film adaptation of Ernest Lehman’s venomous novella about a megalomaniacal gossip columnist (Burt Lancaster) and a parasitic press agent (Tony Curtis) reveals New York’s fickle heart to be less candy-colored than bloody and pumping. Inspired by much-feared newspaperman Walter Winchell, the towering drama encapsulates the show-business spin that once went down after-hours in the booths of the ‘21’ Club and the upper floors of the Brill Building. British-born director Alexander Mackendrick brings a removed anthropologist’s eye to the city’s milieu, while cinematographer James Wong Howe bestows a shimmering noir palette on every authentic location. But it’s adapting screenwriter Clifford Odets’s syncopated symphony of improbably expressionistic dialogue that really lingers: Talk fast enough in this city and anything will sound persuasive.—Stephen Garrett

RECOMMENDED: See all 100 best New York movies

 Buy Sweet Smell of Success on Amazon

Watch the trailer for Sweet Smell of Success

PREVIOUS:New York movies: No. 3 | NEXT:New York movies: No. 1

You might also like
Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese and other movie buffs choose their essential New York film
Check out the best (and worst) New York screen moments
Check out the full list of the 100 best New York movies
See more in Film