Tony Curtis RIP

What to say. During my arrival in Los Angeles, circa 2000, I went to see THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS at the Egyptian Theatre for the first time, the grand old movie palace where Sid Grauman held the first Hollywood Premiere in 1922 (ROBIN HOOD). There’s magic in the dust motes there and even more so when Tony Curtis came out before the film to introduce what is unarguably his greatest performance as sleazy press agent, Sidney Falco. Alexander Mendrick’s caustic 1957 film is still a brittle, brilliant glimpse at the entertainment clubs and sewers of New York, written with ultimate quotable vitriol by Clifford Odetts and photographed in maximum Manhattan Noir by James Wong Howe. Tony Curtis was an underrated actor with a gift for comedy, and standing onstage that evening, he seemed warm and expansive; when the crowd stood for him, you could see the joy and pleasure on his face as he blew kisses to the audience, telling us he loved us all. I thought it was a wonderful Hollywood coronation from an official Movie God.


5 Responses to “Tony Curtis RIP”

  1. So many great films Tony Curtis was in. I think pretty much everyone agrees his Sidney Falco in THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS to be his best performance. Unfortunately, with his looks (and perhaps larger than life personality) many overlooked his acting talent.

    What an absolutely terrible week for fans of cinema with his, Sally’s, Arthur’s loss. May he RIP.

    • The Giants Are Leaving. Oddly, tonight I’ll be seeing Blake Edwards in person at a screening of personal favorite, SOB, and I’m sure he’ll have some words about Curtis as the perfect serial hero in THE GREAT RACE (1965)…

  2. I got to meet him a few years ago, and blogged about it just a few weeks ago. Lovely man & fabulous actor.

  3. “Watch me run a 50-yard dash with my legs cut off!”

    Love Curtis in SWEET SMELL. It should make the upcoming Criterion DVD all the more poignant. Hopefully they got a chance to interview him for it before he died.

  4. all these terrific film people dying is depressing.

    rest in peace, tony, you did good. obviously curtis has been in many great films and had a sterling career, but my softest spots for him are his turns in ‘houdini’ with janet leigh (because that’s the first thing i can remember seeing him in when i was just a wee lass – and while i gather the movie wasn’t exactly true to the real story of harry houdini i found curtis’ perf as the famous escape artist hypnotic), and what sealed the deal for me personally was curtis with poitier in kramer’s terrific ‘the defiant ones’, one of my all-time fave flicks. i will watch that this weekend along with ‘bonnie & clyde’ and ‘jackie brown’ in a triple feature, and shed a tear into my beer for the departed.

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