Sweet Smell of Success

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Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 film which tells the story of a powerful newspaper columnist who uses his connections to ruin his sister's relationship with a man he deems inappropriate.

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick. Written by Clifford Odets, Ernest Lehman and Alexander Mackendrick based on the novelette by Lehman.
This is the story of J.J. - But not the way he wants it told! taglines

J.J. Hunsecker[edit]

  • Son, I don't relish shooting a mosquito with an elephant gun, so why don't you just shuffle along?
  • I'd hate to take a bite outta you. You're a cookie full of arsenic.
  • Don't remove the gangplank, Sidney - you may wanna get back on board.
  • You sound happy, Sidney. Why should you be happy when I'm not?

Susan Hunsecker[edit]

  • I'd rather be dead than living with you. For all the things you've done, J.J., I know I should hate you. But I don't. I pity you.

Steve Dallas[edit]

  • The next time you want information, don't scratch for it like a dog, ask for it like a man!

Dialogue[edit]

Sally: But Sidney, you make a living. Where do you want to get?
Sidney Falco: Way up high, Sam, where it's always balmy. Where no one snaps his fingers and says, "Hey, Shrimp, rack the balls!" Or, "Hey, mouse, mouse, go out and buy me a pack of butts." I don't want tips from the kitty. I'm in the big game with the big players... In brief, from now on, the best of everything is good enough for me.

Sidney Falco: He thinks J.J.'s some kind of a monster...
Susan Hunsecker: Don't you?
Sidney Falco: Susie, J.J. happens to be one of my very best friends!
Susan Hunsecker: I know. But someday I'd like to look into your clever little mind and see what you really think of him.
Sidney Falco: Where do you come off, making a remark like that?
Susan Hunsecker: Who could love a man who makes you jump through burning hoops like a trained poodle?

Sidney Falco: Sure, the columnists can't do without us, except our good and great friend J.J. forgets to mention that. You see, we furnish him with items.
J.J. Hunsecker: What, some cheap, gruesome gags?
Sidney Falco: You print 'em, don't ya?
J.J. Hunsecker: Yes, with your clients' names attached. That's the only reason the poor slobs pay you - to see their names in my column all over the world. Now, I make it out, you're doing me a favor?... The day I can't get along without a press agents' handouts, I'll close up shop and move to Alaska, lock, stock, and barrel.

J.J. Hunsecker: What's this boy got that Susie likes?
Sidney Falco: Integrity - acute, like indigestion.
J.J. Hunsecker: What does that mean - integrity?
Sidney Falco: A pocket fulla firecrackers - looking for a match! [grinning] It's a new wrinkle, to tell the truth... I never thought I'd make a killing on some guy's "integrity."

J.J. Hunsecker: Mr. Falco, let it be said at once, is a man of 40 faces, not one - none too pretty, and all deceptive. You see that grin? That's the, eh, that's the Charming Street Urchin face. It's part of his helpless act: he throws himself upon your mercy. He's got a half-dozen faces for the ladies. But the one I like, the really cute one, is the quick, dependable chap. Nothing he won't do for you in a pinch - so he says. Mr. Falco, whom I did not invite to sit at this table tonight, is a hungry press agent, and fully up to all the tricks of his very slimy trade.
[Pulls out an unlit cigarette and faces Falco]
J.J. Hunsecker: Match me, Sidney.
Sidney Falco: Not right this minute, J.J.

J.J. Hunsecker: Look, Manny, you rode in here on the Senator's shirt tails, so shut your mouth!
Sen. Harvey Walker: Now, come, J.J., that's a little too harsh. Anyone seems fair game for you tonight.
J.J. Hunsecker: This man is not for you, Harvey, and you shouldn't be seen with him in public. Because that's another part of a press agent's life - he digs up scandal among prominent men and shovels it thin among columnists who give him space.
Sen. Harvey Walker: There is some allusion here that escapes me...
J.J. Hunsecker: We're friends, Harvey - we go as far back as when you were a fresh kid Congressman, don't we?
Sen. Harvey Walker: Why does everything you say sound like a threat?
J.J. Hunsecker: Maybe it's a mannerism - because I don't threaten friends, Harvey. But why furnish your enemies with ammunition? You're a family man. Someday, with God willing, you may wanna be President. Now here you are, Harvey, out in the open where any hep person knows that this one...[points at Manny Davis]... is toting THAT one...[points at Linda James] around for you.

J.J. Hunsecker: Manny, what exactly are the UNSEEN gifts of this lovely young thing that you manage?
Manny Davis: Well, she sings a little... you know, sings...
Linda James: Manny's faith in me is simply awe-inspiring, Mr. Hunsecker. Actually, I'm still studying, but...
J.J. Hunsecker: What subject?
Linda James: Singing, of course... straight concert and...
J.J. Hunsecker: [glance flicks between Linda and the Senator] Why "of course"? It might, for instance, be politics...
Linda James: Me? I mean "I"? Are you kidding, Mr. Hunsecker? With my Jersey City brains?
J.J. Hunsecker: The brains may be Jersey City, but the clothes are Traina-Norell.

Taglines[edit]

  • This is the story of J.J. - But not the way he wants it told!
  • The almighty J.J. ...the columnist with sixty million believers ...his wrath is feared by the great and near great who worship the sweet smell of success!
  • The Motion Picture That Will Never Be Forgiven... Or Forgotten!
  • They know him - and they shiver - the big names of Broadway, Hollywood and Capitol Hill. They know J.J.- the world-famed columnist whose gossip is gospel to sixty million readers! They know the venom that flickers in those eyes behind the glasses - and they fawn - like Sid Falco, the kid who wanted "in" so much, he'd sell out his own girl to stand up there with J.J., sucking in the sweet smell of success! This is J.J.'s story - but not the way he would have liked it told!

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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