New Release: Sweet Smell of Success Blu-ray and DVD

The Criterion Collection issued the 1957 classic film Sweet Smell of Success on Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 22, 2011, for the suggested retail price of $39.95 each.

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick (The Ladykillers), the movie stars Burt Lancaster (The Leopard) as barbaric Broadway gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker, and Tony Curtis (Some Like It Hot) as Sidney Falco, the unprincipled press agent Hunsecker ropes into smearing the up-and-coming jazz musician who’s romancing his beloved sister.

Sweet Smell of Success featured deliciously unsavory dialog in an acid, brilliantly structured script by Clifford Odets (Bigger Than Life) and Ernest Lehman (North by Northwest) and noirish neon cityscapes from Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe (Yankee Doodle Dandy).

Both of Criterion’s Blu-ray and DVD have new, restored high-definition digital transfers, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the high-definition version.

Both editions contain these special features:

  • new audio commentary by film scholar James Naremore
  • 1986 documentary Mackendrick: The Man Who Walked Away featuring interviews with director Alexander Mackendrick, actor Burt Lancaster, producer James Hill and more
  • 1973 documentary James Wong Howe: Cinematographer 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
  • 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


Buy or Rent Sweet Smell of Success
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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.