Dick Guttman, Sidney Falco, and a Cookie Full Of Arsenic

Dick Guttman, Sidney Falco, and a Cookie Full Of Arsenic

I will get back to talking about Scriptnotes soon enough, but this week I want to focus on  the legendary publicist Dick Guttman — who was a guest this week on Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast.

I recently read Roger Ebert’s review of Sweet Smell Of Success (Mackendrick, 1957), which I watched last Wednesday for the first time.  The film stars Tony Curtis as PR shark, Sidney Falco, and Burt Lancaster as egotistical columnist with a God-complex, J.J. Hunsecker.  Ironically, Guttman (not a shark) handled the PR for Tony Curtis during that shoot and through the film’s release.  Guttman says he never met anyone as bad as Sidney Falco.  Sure, “…there were connivers…,” Guttman says.


What an interesting word choice Guttman makes.  According to The Free Dictionary online, a conniver is one who is determined:

1. to cooperate secretly; conspire.

2. to give aid to wrongdoing by forbearing to act or speak (usu. fol. by at).

3. to be indulgent toward something others oppose or criticize (usu. fol. by at). [1595–1605; (< French conniver) < Latin co(n)nīvēre to close the eyes in sleep, turn a blind eye]

In Sweet Smell Of Success, Falco does all three.  Repeatedly.   It’s also interesting because Guttman appears to be one of the least conniving individuals in his profession.  Tale after tale is told with complete honesty and respect for the stars Dick Guttman has repped.

I agree with Guttman’s approach.  Niceness matters.



(PHOTO CREDIT, Guttman:  New York Social Diary)

(PHOTO CREDIT, Gilbert Header:  Adapted from Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast.com)


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