J. J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) is a newspaper columnist and the most powerful man in New York City. Whatever he says, goes. And right now, he wants to break up his sister Susan (Susan Harrison)’s relationship with Steve Dallas (Martin Milner). Enter Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis), a press agent who will do anything for J. J. Hunsecker, no matter how despicable.
Sweet Smell of Success is so sleazy, it hurts. It’s so raw and unapologetic, it’s actually painful to watch at times. And that’s what makes it so damn good. That and the dialogue. Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets’ brilliant screenplay is incredibly tight and dripping with amazing one-liners and putdowns. I’ve seen this movie a number of times and every time I watch it, I’m like ‘I wish I’d thought of that!’. So I’ve decided to do a list of my top 7 favorite quotes from Sweet Smell of Success. Here we go!
7. ‘You sound happy Sidney. Why should you be happy when I’m not?’ (J. J. Hunsecker)
6. ‘Cat’s in the bag and the bag’s in the river.’ (Sidney Falco)
5. ‘How many drinks does it take to put you on that tropical island?’ (Sidney Falco to Rita)
4. ‘I love this dirty town.’ (J. J. Hunsecker)
3. ‘You’re dead, son. Get yourself buried.’ (J. J. Hunsecker to Sidney)
2. ‘Match me, Sidney.’ (J. J. Hunsecker)
- ‘I’d hate to take a bit out of you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic.’ (J. J. Hunsecker to Sidney)
Oh, what a great movie. If you want to read more of my thoughts on it and specifically Sidney Falco, check out my other blog, THE LOSERS OF FILM NOIR here https://open.substack.com/pub/carolsaintmartin/p/sidney-falco-from-sweet-smell-of?r=2amfey&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web
See you later, folks!