Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

The first time I watched this movie, I remember thinking that the stakes were insanely low for an indictment of an individual as extremely powerful as Walter Winchel. I wanted him to be torn apart and laid to waste in the eyes of the public. But upon this re-watch, the brilliance of the decision to handle things in a more subtle way, finally dawned on me. When you have the power to make or break presidents, who in the world could possibly have enough power to hold you accountable for your misdeeds? The only people that have power over us are the ones that we grant power to. In the case of J.J. Hunsecker, the person with that much power over him is his sister Susan. It doesn't matter how many press agents, jazz musicians and fellow columnists hate you. As long as you have the love of family you are secure and immortal. This would make an interesting double-bill with Scarface.

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