Sweet Smell of Success (T... has been added to your Cart

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

Sweet Smell of Success (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-Ray]

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

List Price: CDN$ 42.99
Price: CDN$ 38.57 & FREE Shipping. Details
You Save: CDN$ 4.42 (10%)
Only 4 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
10 new from CDN$ 38.56 5 used from CDN$ 32.99

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison, Martin Milner, Jeff Donnell
  • Directors: Alexander Mackendrick
  • Format: Black & White, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: March 8 2011
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B004CIIXG4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,292 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

Product Description

In the swift, cynical Sweet Smell of Success, directed by Alexander Mackendrick (The Ladykillers), Burt Lancaster (Brute Force, The Leopard) stars as barbaric Broadway gossip columnist J. J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis (Some Like It Hot, Spartacus) as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent he ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician romancing his beloved sister. Featuring deliciously unsavory dialogue in an acid, brilliantly structured script by Clifford Odets (Notorious, Bigger Than Life) and Ernest Lehman (North by Northwest, The Sound of Music) and noirish neon cityscapes from Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe (The Thin Man, Yankee Doodle Dandy), Sweet Smell of Success is a cracklingly cruel dispatch from the kill-or-be-killed wilds of 1950s Manhattan.

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition • New audio commentary by film scholar James Naremore • Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away, a 1986 documentary featuring interviews with director Alexander Mackendrick, actor Burt Lancaster, producer James Hill, and more • James Wong Howe: Cinematographer, a 1973 documentary about the Oscar-winning director of photography, featuring lighting tutorials with Howe • New video interview with film critic and historian Neil Gabler (Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity) about legendary columnist Walter Winchell, inspiration for the character J. J. Hunsecker • New video interview with filmmaker James Mangold about Mackendrick, his instructor and mentor • Original theatrical trailer • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins, two short stories by Ernest Lehman featuring the characters from the film, notes about the film by Lehman, and an excerpt from Mackendrick’s book On Film-making


Criterion's two-disc treatment of Sweet Smell of Success is the kind of tasteful assembly befitting a classic--even if this particular classic was a little slow in being acknowledged as one. A definitive digital restoration of the film is accompanied by James Naremore's informative commentary track and Gary Giddins's affectionate essay, the latter in a smart little booklet designed to evoke the tabloid spirit of the kind of newspaper J.J. Hunsecker might write for. This also contains two stories, by screenwriter Ernest Lehman, that introduced gossip columnist Hunsecker and press agent Sidney Falco to the world, plus an excerpt from On Filmmaking, by Alexander Mackendrick, in which the director recalls the impact of Clifford Odets's rewrite of the script.

The second disc offers new half-hour video interviews with biographer Neal Gabler (speaking with authority and insight about Walter Winchell, the lightly disguised model for Hunsecker) and director James Mangold, who remembers the lessons he learned studying film at CalArts with Mackendrick as teacher. A 44-minute TV portrait of Mackendrick from 1986, The Man Who Walked Away, provides a close look at his films, his flinty personality, and his decision to leave filmmaking for teaching. James Coburn and Burt Lancaster are among those paying tribute, and Lancaster calmly recalls firing Mackendrick from the director's chair on The Devil's Disciple, the film they were to make after Sweet Smell. A 21-minute featurette from 1973, James Wong Howe--Cinematographer, gives a glimpse of the great director of photography as he explains a few basics about his craft. For more on that, just watch Sweet Smell of Success. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Excellent noir film about a gossip columnist in New York City in the 1950 on their private and personal lives and how they intertwine to an astounding degree. Well worth watching. Outstanding performances by Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: DVD
The Criterion Collection presents "SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS" (27 June 1957) (96 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- Burt Lancaster stars as J. J. Hunsecker, a Walter Winchell-style columnist who wields his power like a club, steamrolling friends and enemies alike --- Tony Curtis co-stars as Sidney Falco, a sycophantic press agent who'd sell his grandmother to get an item into Hunsecker's popular newspaper column --- Hunsecker enlists Falco's aid in ruining the reputation of jazz guitarist Steve Dallas (Martin Milner), who has had the temerity to court Hunsecker's sister Susan (Susan Harrison) --- Falco contrives to plant marijuana on Dallas, then summons corrupt, sadistic NYPD officer Harry Kello (Emile Meyer), who owes Hunsecker several favors, to arrest the innocent singer.
A sharp-edged, penetrating film, Sweet Smell of Success is now regarded as a model of street-smart cinematic cynicism --- The electric performances of the stars are matched by the taut direction of Alex MacKendrick, the driving jazz score of Elmer Bernstein, and the evocative nocturnal camera work of James Wong Howe.

Under the production staff of:
Alexander Mackendrick [Director]
Writers:Clifford Odets [Screenwriter]
Ernest Lehman [Screenwriter]
James Hill [Producer]
Elmer Bernstein [Original Film Score]
James Wong Howe [Cinematographer]
Edward Carrere [Art Director]

1. Alexander Mackendrick [Director]
Date of Birth: 8 September 1912 - Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Death: 22 December 1993 - Los Angeles, California

2. Burt Lancaster
Date of Birth: 2 November 1913 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 20 October 1994 - Century City, California

Read more ›
2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: DVD
In “The Sweet Smell Of Success” movie,Burt Lancaster and Sidney Falco star as two men (characters of Sidney Falco and J.J. Hunsecker) who work in media jobs and have certain “dealings” with each other. Sidney Falco is a Manhattan Press Agent who would like to gain more notoriety and popularity. J.J. Hunsecker is involved in a prominent and popular newspaper column. However,
Hunsecker only wants to help Falco in his career goals if he meddles in the relationship of his younger sister Susan and boyfriend musician.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Blu-ray
Sweet Smell of Success is one of my personal favorites, and in my opinion, this is one of the best Blu-Rays I have purchased. For a great review of the film himself, I would direct prospective buyers to Roger Ebert's review, on his Chicago Sun-Times website.

This Blu-Ray features the film itself with a beautiful high-def transfer, cleaned audio, a wealth of extras, and a hefty 56-page booklet. The cardboard packaging is very nice as well. This release upholds the Criterion Collection's very high standards admirably.

Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: DVD
Sweet Smell of Success is not only an example of a quintessential film noir, it is also a quintessential movie about New York City. As J.J. Hunsecker puts it so well, "I love this dirty town." This is a tough, gritty, uncompromising film with dialogue that crackles and pops (in some respects, David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross is a homage to this movie) with intensity as the various characters trade barbs with each other.
The film belongs to Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster. Both were huge stars at the time and cast themselves against type in this movie. Naturally, the film tanked when it was released but it has since become a much admired and imitated film (Oliver Stone has said that a lot of his movie, Wall Street, was inspired by Sweet Smell). Curtis is note perfect as a slimy agent who'll do anything to get his clients promoted and climb the social ladder. This puts him at odds with the most powerful columnist in the city--J.J. Hunsecker, played by Lancaster. J.J. can kill careers with a few words and it is this power that makes him such a dangerous person.
The film also features stunning black and white cinematography that is moody and atmospheric. New York City has never looked so dark and foreboding. The camerawork is rich and textured and it is fascinating to see a New York City that just doesn't exist anymore. Watching this film is like stepping into a time machine.
The DVD is a bit of letdown. The transfer could be better. I noticed scratches and dirt on the print. And the lack of extras is unexcusable. C'mon, a retrospective documentary with film historians and Tony Curtis (who is still alive) would've been nice. The studio really dropped the ball in that respect. A classic like this one deserves more respect.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: DVD
J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) writes a newspaper column that 42 million people read. He deals mainly with two kinds of persons: those who would give anything to be mentioned in his column (would-be stars and washed-up vaudevillians) and those who would give anything not to be mentioned in his column (politicians with secrets). He is absolutely merciless, but he has a weak spot: His nineteen years old sister Susie (Susan Harrison). He has her sexy Photo on his desk, when he invites her to embrace him he sounds like the spider talking to the fly, and when he sees her asleep in her bed he tears himself away from her and gasps for breath out of fear he might be doing what he knows he is capable to do...
Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) is J.J's press agent and his little dog. He considers J.J. as his ladder for success. He has even a conscience, but at the end he always obeys his master's orders.
Susie has a boy-friend: Steve (Martin Milner), a talented young jazz musician that any mother in law would welcome. But not J.J. He orders Sidney to separate them. Sidney's plan is very simple: he brings another newspaper columnist to write a slanderous article about Steve. First he tries blackmail, then pimping: he drives his own girlfried, a young mother, to prostitution. The article is published. Steve is denounced as marijuana-smoker and communist, and he is fired. But he and Susie understand very well who is behind this article. Sidney suggests that J.J. should use his influence to help Steve get his job back - what better way to look good in the eyes of his sister? But Steve has committed a deadly sin: He confronted J.J. In Public. J.J. wants his revenge. And this time he goes too far...
Atmospheric and brilliantly acted. Burt Lancaster reminds me of a giant snake: one does not argue with him.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse

Most recent customer reviews

Look for similar items by category