Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Finale of Sweet Smell Of Sucess (1957)

The final two minutes of Mackendrick's (and Odets and Lehman's and Wong Howe's) Sweet Smell of Success clinch its status as one of the greatest films of the '50s, and it's Elmer Bernstein's remarkable score that, having jet-propelled the film since its first frames, now brings it home. Bernstein makes two miraculous transitions, from a violin threnody to a reprise of the brassy Street theme from the beginning of the movie to a first wistful then heraldic, Copland-ish theme as Suzie Hunsecker steps out of the Brill Building and, after we close on a trembling J.J. 30 storeys above, she crosses the street into the light and her future. Perfect.

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