Sweet Smell of Success (1957) directed by Alexander MacKendrick is one of my favorite movies. I think this is Tony Curtis’ best performance, and possibly Burt Lancaster’s best performance as well, after Elmer Gantry (1960).
The story revolves around Burt Lancaster’s character’s obsession with his sister and his desire to break up her relationship with a musician. He hires Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) to do the job for him and, as you’d expect, it doesn’t go too well.
This is one of the most quotable movies ever made. Things like ‘You’re a cookie full of arsenic’ and ‘Match me, Sidney’ will be stuck in your head long after you watch it. The only way I can describe this movie is ‘claustrophobic’. There’s a sense of urgency from Sidney’s point of view and you can feel everything closing in on him. Oddly enough, like some of our beloved classics (i.e. Vertigo), this was a flop when it came out. And it shouldn’t have been, ’cause it’s probably the best movie of 1957. But no biggie, it’s a classic now and that’s what matters.