Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Set your Tivo, DVR, or VCR to "Sweet Smell"

So much of what advertisers and the entertainment industry produced in the 1950s was so idyllic (think Life magazine ads with the perfect clean cut family standing by their new Chevrolet or shows of the Leave It To Beaver or Father Knows Best ilk) that, when you get a glimpse of the decade's grittier side, it is especially delicious. The 1957 movie Sweet Smell of Success (airing at 4:15AM on Thursday, March 13th is one such tasty morsel. Burt Lancaster is JJ Hunsecker, a Walter Winchell-esque columnist and Tony Curtis is Sidney Falco, an ambitious (to put it mildly) publicity man. I won't give you the plot synopsis, as you can get that at, and I won't write a lengthy review, since much more savvy film scholars already have and are easily Googled. I will tell you that both of the lead actors are fascinating to watch (that's right, even Tony Curtis!) and, as a lover of New York City, the location shots of 1950s Manhattan are worth viewing the film alone. The characters take us with them to visit the smoky 21 Club and Toot's Shores. If you think that the cruelty of the tabloids is a recent phenomenon, this movie will be an eye opener for you.

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