[Quick Summary: When a a megalomaniacal gossip columnist cuts him out of the loop, a desperate publicist strikes a devil's bargain to break up the relationship of the columnist's sister.]
This script kicks ass, takes names, and annihilates those too.
Despite clocking in at 184 pgs., it reads far quicker than some 90 pg. scripts I've seen. I easily rank this in my Top 5 "must read" scripts.
If you ever need a refresher in HIGH STAKES, check out how Sidney Falco suffers mightily from a lack of publicity. No wonder Sidney must agree to Hunsecker's plans.
If you ever need to see CLEAR, STRONG GOALS, look at Sidney's voracious appetite to succeed, and Hunsecker's hunger for power over his sister's life.
If you ever need to see unbelievably good MANIPULATION through REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY, try the confrontation between Hunsecker & his sister (p. 163-166).
It's fresh, cutting edge and a script I'd buy today ---and it's over 50 yrs. old!
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Manipulate the hell out of your characters. It makes them more memorable.
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
by Clifford Odets & Ernest Lehman
From the novelette by Ernest Lehman