Sweet Smell of Success script
Synopsis: New York City newspaper writer J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) holds considerable sway over public opinion with his Broadway column, but one thing that he can't control is his younger sister, Susan (Susan Harrison), who is in a relationship with aspiring jazz guitarist Steve Dallas (Marty Milner). Hunsecker strongly disproves of the romance and recruits publicist Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) to find a way to split the couple, no matter how ruthless the method.



A row of newspaper delivery trucks is lined up against the

long loading bay, waiting for the edition. In the foreground

a large clock establishes the time as 8:10 PM. A rumbling

noise warns the men to take their positions; a few seconds

later the bales of newspapers come sliding the spiral chutes

onto the moving belts from which they are manhandled onto

the trucks. Much noise and shouting.

The front truck moves out to the city street. As it does

CAMERA EMPHASIZES the big poster on its side. The design

features a large pair of spectacles with heavy rims - a

trademark of Hunsecker's. (It will later be seen as the

masthead of the gossip column.)




"They eyes of Broadway"


The truck starts on its journey along Broadway. Some shots

are of the vehicle moving through very heavy traffic (taken

from a camera car). Others are from the inside of the

truck; as it slows down, the delivery man tosses the heavy

bundle of papers onto the sidewalk. CAMERA following the

truck, holds it in foreground against the blazing electric

signs of Broadway and Times Square.


The southeast corner of the intersection of Broadway and

46th Street, CAMERA, fairly high, shoots north towards the

impressive vista of electric signs, silhouetted against the

darkening sky. Very heavy traffic and crowded sidewalks.

CAMERA descends towards the Orange Juice stand on the

corner, passing the booth which sells souvenir hats. It

moves through the congestion of chattering passersby,

steadily approaching a smartly dressed young man, who stands

at the counter of the Orange Juice stand. Oblivious of the

hub-bub around him, SIDNEY FALCO is concerned only with his

private problems.

He turns sharply as a newspaper truck pulls up at the curb

behind him; this is what he has been waiting for...


The news truck delivery man tosses a bundle out onto the

sidewalk besides a newsstand.


The bundle of newspapers. It hits the sidewalk with a smack.

CAMERA PULLS BACK as Sidney Falco crosses the sidewalk. The

owner of the newsstand, IGGY, comes to pick up the bundle;

he is a grizzled gnome with a philosophical sense of humor;

Sidney snaps his fingers with impatience. Iggy wears

spectacles and is clearly more or less blind, he has to

grope for the cord that binds the papers.


Aw Lady, if I looked like you, I'd--




(recognizing Sidney's voice)

Keep ya sweatshirt on, Sidney.

Majestically taking his time, Iggy lifts the bundle to his

stand and cuts the cord.


Hey, Fresh, the Globe just came

in -- Hey, Sidney, want an item for

Hunsecker's column? Two rolls get

fresh with a baker! Hey, hot, hot,

hot -- etc.

Annoyed, Sidney throws him a dime, seizes a paper and

returns briskly to the orange juice stand.


Sidney's place at the crowded counter has been taken by

newcomers. Rudely, he recovers his half-consumed glass of

orange juice and sandwich. He takes them further down the

counter to a quieter corner at which he can examine the

paper. CAMERA MOVING WITH HIM, picks up further snatches of

overheard dialogue. (See dialogue attached at the end of the

scene) We move close enough to see Sidney's hands open the

paper expertly at HUNSECKER'S column - identifiable by the

picture of the spectacled eyes. Over scene there is a

babble of offstage dialogue.

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Ernest Lehman

Ernest Paul Lehman was an American screenwriter. He received six Academy Award nominations during his career, without a single win. more…

All Ernest Lehman scripts | Ernest Lehman Books

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"Sweet Smell of Success" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 23 Feb. 2018. <http://www.scripts.com/script/sweet_smell_of_success_524>.

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