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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.66:1
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer

The Sweet Smell of Success

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 92 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

What is it about black and white films? The men are all suave cads. The women are classy dames. The drinks are always martinis. It was a time before every actor thought they needed to ďbe the ballĒ to be interesting, and before anyone would use terms like ďthe gift of stillnessĒ in describing the acting qualities of so-so stars such as Keeannnu Reeevees.

In The Sweet Smell of Success, Burt Lancaster is J.J. Hunsecker, world famed columnist whoís word is gospel to his devout readers and his attitude is caustic soda to his friends and hangers-on. Tony Curtis is Sidney Falco, a publicist who relies on Hunseckerís column to spread his news for his clients. But Falco is losing face with Hunsecker after failing to come good on a favour and as a result isnít getting his clients the publicity they paid for. But Falco is determined to get back in the good books with Hunsecker, and will play all his cards doing it, no matter what it takes or who it hurts.

The Sweet Smell of Success is full of backstabbers, corruption, jealousy, sharp dialogue, put-downs and bad attitudes. The city is brimming with seedy nightlife and clubs, everyone's on the make and nothing is too low for most of its inhabitants. Tony Curtis, perfectly in character as Falco, will do anything to get where he wants to be. But he's more a victim of his own jealousy of how he perceives the better half to live, and this drives him to blindly make stupid decisions without thought for the consequences. Burt Lancaster's character J.J. Hunsecker is biting, bitter and cynical about the world, and his overprotectiveness of his younger sister appears to be slightly too incestous at times to be comfortable. His column has brought him the illusion of power, and he weilds this freely in attacks upon those who seek to plant him with information.

The old saying, "They don't make them like they used to" applies here, and many current heavily marketed films simply don't have half the punch and interest that this film is capable of generating in a single scene.

  Video
Contract

Think film, think black and white, think old, then you think average looking DVD, don't you? Oh, that's just me? Well, I'd be wrong here (not the first time, and it won't be the last). Aside from some aliasing, the image has heavy blacks with sometimes average shadow detail and sometimes good shadow detail, so we'll call it even. The film takes place in lots of dark interiors and night time sets, so itís not a bright and happy story, and it doesnít have a bright and cheery image, even if it does look about as good as a film from 1957 has a right to. I thought the best part of picture was that it appeared to have a surprisingly clean transfer, with not too many flecks, specks, scratches and what have you. Letterboxed at 1.66:1 (original theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1), it appears to have been taken from a theatrical print with reel change markings intact.

  Audio
Contract

Audio is 192kbps DD2.0 two channel mono, and Iíve said it before that I hate it when a simple mono mix canít be driven through the centre channel. Anyway, thatís just a personal gripe I have, so letís move along, shall we? The quality itself isnít too bad at all, with reasonably good clarity to the dialogue slipping only occasionally to sound a bit muffled, with the synch between dialogue and actors mouths sometimes clearly out a bit, but thankfully only happening a few times that I noticed. Everything else sounds just fine thank you very much, even though it's only mono, with a little flatness that performs its duties and never grates on the ears.

  Extras
Contract

Yes, well this is another slim release, with the only extra on this DVD being just a single three minute, DD2.0, 1.66:1 letterboxed theatrical trailer. But it's a bloody good film, so if you let a lack of extras put you off checking this disc out, either by rental or purchase, then you're a bigger fool than I, my friend, and I am one big fool, lemme tell ya.

  Overall  
Contract

What else need be said? It's a great film, suprising me as I'd not have thought a Tony Curtis flick with Burt Lancaster could be so interesting. As a DVD it performs where it counts, which is the audio and video, but the extras are limited to just a trailer, which still shouldn't put you off.

Do yourself a favour, when you're sick of movies that blow shit up every three minutes, are tired of movies that rely on the "F" word every ten seconds, or are just bored with movies that blow shit up and say the "F" word at the same time, then grab a copy of this and settle in for a quality watch. You won't be disappointed, I guarantee it (guarantee not valid in NSW).

Thank you, you've been a lovely audience, and goodnight.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1402
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      And I quote...
    "The old saying, "They don't make them like they used to" applies here, and many current heavily marketed films simply don't have half the punch and interest that this film is capable of generating in a single scene."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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