Tony Curtis’ best role has to be the sleazy publicist Sidney Falco in Alexander Mackendrick’s acid noir Sweet Smell of Success (1957). Burt Lancaster’s manipulative NY celebrity columnist enlists the amoral Falco to destroy his younger sister’s suitor. These guys are as bracing as vinegar and cold as ice: ambition stripped of all pretense. The chemistry between Lancaster as the sinister chat columnist and Tony Curtis as the ruthless publicist is palpable. It is also DP James Wong Howe’s sharpest picture – the streets of Manhattan have never looked so real.
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