Criterion’s Bluray of Sweet Smell of Success (2.22) is one of the most beautiful black-and-white films these eyes have ever witnessed in high definition, and is all the more luscious for looking like a lot like real film. 70% film and 30% digital, I’d say. It has my kind of grain (i.e., tolerable). Thank God Criterion didn’t bring their Stagecoach aesthetic to this one! It’s so clean and crisp and beautifully captured it’ll bring tears to your eyes.
In my book this is way, way up there with Warner Home Video’s Casablanca and The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Criterion’s own Repulsion, Universal Home Video’s Psycho and Criterion’s DVD of The Spy Whom Came In From The Cold. (Why isn’t there a Bluray of this, I wonder?) The Sweet Smell of Success tones are so varied and delicate and delicious it’s a marvel just to stare at them — all the other elements aside.