Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Sweet Smell of Success
Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
Written by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman based on the novel by Ernest Lehman
(number 323)

This movie is exactly like reading an old pulp Noir novel, which makes sense since it’s based on an old pulp Noir novel. All the pretty metaphors and similes that people just drop in every conversation. So clever, so cool. Everyone wearing hats and cool, long coats.

It’s also beautifully shot, the lines ad the costumes and the sets, it’s all gorgeous in black and white. Very clear and pretty.

We’re all JJ when he says “President? My big toe would make a better President!”

I watched this on a Monday night when Anna was out, and weirdly, our cat Mochi seemed very into it. Of all the tv and movies I’ve watched with the cat she’s paid very little attention. This one she sat up in front of and watched for a bit. When she was on the couch with me washing, she’d look over when there was a sudden noise (which she doesn’t usually do). So I guess this movie is cat approved?

Does it make me love the people? Like, kind of. I kind of loved Sidney although he’s completely unscrupulous and unfaithful but he’s still the protagonist and very smooth. I enjoy watching and listening to him. I don’t like JJ but I feel for Susie, she seems like mostly an innocent victim in the machinations of the others. I did like it when she slammed Sidney’s fingers in the door of a cab as she ran from him. Good work, Suse!

Susie and Steve’s romance is quite convincing as well, Steve himself is a little on the wooden side but I believe that they care about each other and are upset when they break up.

Bechdel test: No, there’s a tonne of women and named ones, but they all exist as the only woman in any given scene.

Best lines:

“Turn the record over, Sidney. I’m bored. like most of the human race I’m bored. I’d go a mile for a chuckle.”

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

JJ: People tell me I’m a very talented man, but I still can’t see around corners.

Sidney: a bed is the best friend a girl ever had.

State of Mind: Yeah, I enjoyed this for what it is. It sort of made me want to read the pulp novel I bought in L.A. again. But I don’t know if it was enough fun, or engaging enough to watch again. Nice twisty plot at the end there, for something which was relatively straightforward.

Watched movie count