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Ernest Lehman: The Sweet Smell of Success

Ernest Lehman: The Sweet Smell of Success is the first biography of Ernest Lehman, one of the most successful screenwriters in film history. He created a remarkable string of iconic mid-Twentieth Century American films, including Sabrina, The King And I, Somebody Up There Likes Me, Sweet Smell of Success, North By Northwest, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Hitchcock's last film Family Plot and Black Sunday (but also the calamitous Portnoy's Complaint). This book takes readers into pre-production and onto the sound stages and locations for these films and highlights Lehman's role in their creation. Using extensive research and interviews with more than 100 of Lehman's colleagues, friends and family members, it also provides a thorough look at this wary, reticent and elusive screenwriter from Manhattan's Upper West Side and the Five Towns of Long Island and examines the questions raised by his life and art, such as the uneasy co-existence of art and commerce in Hollywood and the relative place of original and adapted screenplays in Hollywood's status hierarchy.