The plot: Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis) is a down on his luck hustler of a publicity agent. He's been shut out of the influential column of J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster) because he could not break up the relationship of jazz musician Steve Dallas (Martin Milner) and J.J.'s sister, Susan Hunsecker (the lovely Susan Harrison who, apparently, did little else of consequence save for giving birth to Darva Conger, who would later achieve her own infamy as a reality starlet). The film takes place over the course of a single night and the following day. Falco scurries about hatching schemes and stratagems to advance the interests of his clients and return to the good graces of the menacing and corrupt J.J. Hunsecker.
What is astonishing is how dark, cynical, and overtly sexual the film seems even today in light of its release in the late 1950s. Of course, there is no profanity or nudity in the film, and any sexual exploits occur safely offscreen. But the sexual bargains that are sealed are certainly not subtly referenced. The film depicts the types of people who will do anything - anything - to advance or aggrandize themselves and whose only purpose in life is to, well, advance or aggrandize themselves. If you've not seen it, do yourself a favor, and submerge yourself into this world. Truly, you'll be startled at how edgy this film is, even by today's standards. Noirish indeed.