Sidney Falco checks out: Vale Tony Curtis (1925-2010)

Tony Curtis’ best role has to be the sleazy publicist Sidney Falco in Alexander Mackendrick’s acid noir Sweet Smell of Success (1957).   Burt Lancaster’s manipulative NY celebrity columnist enlists  the amoral Falco to destroy his younger sister’s suitor. These guys are as bracing as vinegar and cold as ice: ambition stripped of all pretense.   The chemistry between Lancaster as the sinister chat columnist  and Tony Curtis as the ruthless publicist is palpable.  It is also DP James Wong Howe’s sharpest picture –  the streets of Manhattan have never looked so real.

3 thoughts on “Sidney Falco checks out: Vale Tony Curtis (1925-2010)”

  1. Nice homage here Tony!

    Yes, this is absolutely Curtis’s best performance ever, and it’s arguably the greatest film he’s worked in for all the reasons you propose. I know some will mention SOME LIKE IT HOT, but I never cared much for that one, despite its great reputation. He did have that great scene in Kubrick’s SPARTACUS with Lawrence Olivier, but as Sidney Falco he found his footing to deliver a performance that went beyond anything he has done before or after, and as you note there was a sizzling chemistry in Lancaster.


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