Sweet Smell of Success
Director Alexander Mackendrick's classic 1957 late noir boasts one of finest resumes of any decade. Ernest Lehman (Sabrina, North By Northwest) adapted his novella with the incomparable Clifford Odets, whose gift for dialog is on incandescent display in this showbiz tale of a New York press agent (Tony Curtis), who makes a Faustian pact with an influential newspaper columnist. Elmer Bernstein provides the jazz score, and James Wong Howe's crisp cinematography imbues every scene with a sharp seediness. But the movie belongs to Burt Lancaster's alpha-male columnist. His J.J. Hunsecker could eat the Mad Men for lunch, steal--and then unanimously please--their women, and still have time to make and break careers over drinks.