Alexander Mackendrick's Sweet Smell of Success is about scratching (the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type) and two men without morals. One of them is J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster, The Leopard), a powerful newspaper columnist in New York City, who could create stars in a manner of hours, and then just as easily destroy them. His writings are followed by millions of people who are literally addicted to his street smart and confident style. The other man is Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis, The Defiant Ones), a young, handsome, ambitious and manipulative press agent lackey who admires everything J.J. does. He also fears the man, which is why he tries hard to be his friend.