DVD Picks: 'Sweet Smell Of Success' Bob Mondello's DVD pick this week is a new, cleaned-up Criterion Collection version of Sweet Smell Of Success, a film noir classic.
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DVD Picks: 'Sweet Smell Of Success'

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DVD Picks: 'Sweet Smell Of Success'

DVD Picks: 'Sweet Smell Of Success'

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

A new segment now for those of you who prefer your movies without the theater price tag or the chit-chat of strangers. Every week, lots of movies and TV programs, new and old, make their way onto video. And we've asked our own Bob Mondello to do for your Netflix queue what he's long been doing for your multiplex itinerary: sort good from bad, so you don't have to.

Here's Bob with his first recommendation, a new edition of the film noir classic "Sweet Smell of Success."

(Soundbite of film, "Sweet Smell of Success")

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) Come in here. Come in here. Come on.

BOB MONDELLO: Times Square, 1957, Tony Curtis sleazing up the screen as celebrity press agent Sidney Falco, while Burt Lancaster oozes malice as a Walter Winchell-like newspaper columnist. Pity the poor guy who's dating that columnist's sister. He'll never know what hit him.

(Soundbite of film, "Sweet Smell of Success")

Mr. BURT LANCASTER (Actor): (As character) You've got a plan. Can you deliver?

Mr. TONY CURTIS (Actor): (As Sidney Falco) Tonight, before you go to bed. Cat's in the bag, and the bag's in a river.

Mr. LANCASTER: (As character) Don't be a two-time loser, Sidney.

MONDELLO: Playwright Clifford Odets reportedly delivered pages of dialogue to director Alexander MacKendrick just hours before they were shot, dialogue so snappy that when Barry Levinson made the film "Diner" a quarter-century later, he had one character speak nothing but lines from "Sweet Smell of Success."

The two-disc DVD includes a documentary full of muddy, splotchy clips that show what the film looked like before the Criterion Collection restored it to velvety blacks and pristine whites.

There's also an intriguing interview about the real Walter Winchell and commentary that details, among other things, the 10 alternate endings the filmmakers considered before settling on the one that makes that "Sweet Smell of Success" so delectably acrid. I'm Bob Mondello.

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