J.J. Hunsecker to Sidney Falco: “I’d hate to take a bite outta you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic.”
Very dark satire with a screenplay by Clifford Odets. This is a Film Noir masterpiece directed by Alexander Mackendrick (The Lady Killers 1955)
Starring the enigmatic Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker… a power-hungry columnist whose unethical practices and megalomania make him a force to be reckoned with. Tony Curtis plays the smarmy climber– press agent always on the make–Sid Falco. He’s J.J.’s wingman who has to clean up the wake of the destruction he leaves behind with his brutal and persuasive influence. It’s a dark and sinister condemnation of the world of entertainment, publishing, nightclubs, social circles… the works!
The film also stars Martin Milner as Steve Dallas a jazz musician who wants to marry J.J.’s younger sister Susan (Susan Harrison) There’s a very strong undercurrent of incestuous fixation on the part of J.J. toward his sister, as he controls her every move and tries to destroy the young woman’s relationship with Steve. Fantastic dialogue throughout and James Wong Howe’s cinematography is exquisitely framed for the dark and intriguing atmosphere of New York City’s nite life. Elmer Bernstein adds his wonderful score to this urban morality play.