133 Great Directors: Alexander Mackendrick

“Nationality is a very curious thing. The blood is Scots and the temperament is Scots, but I am in fact 100% American.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Mostly Sweet Smell of Success.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Man in the White Suit, which I need to rewatch.

What Did I Watch: Sweet Smell of Success.

Where Does He Fit: Well, this is an addictive little chunk of nastiness, and I certainly didn’t think Odets had a screenplay this great in him after None But the Lonely Heart. (Lehman was also undoubtedly a big help.) That said, Mackendrick’s direction here is still phenomenal, if only for the utterly horrible performances we get from damn near everyone as they tear into a disgusting screenplay for the ages and the visuals are cheerfully, unobtrusively noir to set the pitch black mood. We think Tony Curtis is the one running the show, but then Burt Lancaster shows up and lives up to his reputation, the one thing you need to get by in this town.


Most Valuable Asset: Drollery.
Most Excited For: The Ladykillers.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Russian poet Aleksandr Dovzhenko.


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