The cat's in the bag and the bag's in the river, as Michael and Nakea enjoy a #Noirvember viewing of Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success (1957).
Sweet Smell of Success was a total flop when it opened in 1957, proving too smart and too cynical for the movie-going public. Since then, however, it has been recognized as a stone-cold, pitch-black masterpiece, featuring career-best performances from Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis, a jazzy Elmer Bernstein score, gorgeous cinematography from the great James Wong Howe, and some of cinema's best, most acerbic dialogue in a brilliant screenplay by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman.
Make no mistake: This movie is "a cookie full of arsenic." But will The Unenthusiastic Critic take a bite?
0:00: Prologue: from Diner (1982)
01:02: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion
12:34: Original Trailer
13:29: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion
57:51: Outro and Next Week's Movie
Notes and Links
—Movie Reviewed: Sweet Smell of Success (dir. Alexander Mackendrick, Hecht-Hill-Lancaster/UA, 1957)
—Prologue from Diner (dir. Barry Levinson, MGM/UA, 1982)
—Links and Sources: "A Movie Marked Danger," Sam Kashner, Vanity Fair; "Another Bite from that Cookie Full of Arsenic," A.O. Scott, New York Times; "What is Noir," The Film Noir Foundation; "A Guide to Film Noir Genre," Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com; "Sweet Smell of Success: A Visceral and Vicious Depiction of the Evil that Power-Hungry Men Do," Koraljka Suton, Cinephilia and Beyond; #Noirvember Tweets from @oldfilmsflicker, @kevatron500, @genrefilmaddict, and @steveyeager.
—Support The Film Noir Foundation at filmnoirfoundation.org.
—Find additional episodes, leave a comment, or make a donation to support the podcast at unaffiliatedcritic.com.
—Email us, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. (Suggestions of movies to watch for future episodes are very welcome.)
—"Warm Duck Shuffle" by Arne Huseby is licensed under CC BY 3.0.