The film The Sweet Smell of Success, released in 1957 was a barely disguised film noir study on columnist Walter Winchell. Originally released in two volumes, one featuring the score and the other the jazz elements are now combined into this re-mastered and mixed edition, a milestone in the history of film-scoring. Playing piano on this record is film music icon John Williams. Other all-stars include Shelly Manne, Paul Horn, Pete Condoli, Ted Nash, and more.
Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success is about scratching (the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type) and two men without morals. One of them is J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster, The Leopard), a powerful newspaper columnist in New York City, who could create stars in a manner of hours, and then just as easily destroy them. His writings are followed by millions of people who are literally addicted to his street smart and confident style. The other man is Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones), a young, handsome, ambitious and manipulative press agent lackey who admires everything J.J. does. He also fears the man, which is why he tries hard to be his friend.
J.J. Hunsceker (Burt Lancaster), is a tyrannical Broadway columnist for the New York Globe who rules his demimonde with the press's power to create or destroy. Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis), is the hustling publicist who is consumed by desperate ambition and hates himself because of it; he will do anything to gain the admiration of Hunsceker ("My experience, in brief, is dog eat dog.") The film was shot in black and white by James Wong Howe, giving it a grittiness that underscores the class ranking among the characters. In the script by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, Falco's early prediction - "Every dog has its day" - comes crashingly true.