Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Hollywood actor Charles Castle is pressured by his studio boss into a criminal cover-up to protect his valuable career.



(adapted for the screen by), (stage play)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit."

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rough city cop Jim Wilson is disciplined by his captain and is sent upstate, to a snowy mountain town, to help the local sheriff solve a murder case.

Directors: Nicholas Ray, Ida Lupino
Stars: Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond
Angel Face (1953)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Ambulance driver Frank Jessup is ensnared in the schemes of the sensuous but dangerous Diane Tremayne.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, Mona Freeman
Ulzana's Raid (1972)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After fierce war chief Ulzana and a small war party jump the reservation bent on murder and terror, an inexperienced young lieutenant is assigned to track him down.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison, Jorge Luke
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Kathy leaves the newspaper business to marry homicide detective Bill but is frustrated by his lack of ambition and the banality of life in the suburbs. Her drive to advance Bill's career soon takes her down a dangerous path.

Director: Gerd Oswald
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, Raymond Burr
Nocturne (1946)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 1940s Los Angeles, when womanizing composer Keith Vincent is found dead, the inquest concludes it was a suicide but police detective Joe Warne isn't so sure.

Director: Edwin L. Marin
Stars: George Raft, Lynn Bari, Virginia Huston
Caught (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

It was Leonora Eames' childhood dream come true. She had married Smith Ohlrig, a man worth millions. But her innocent dream became a nightmare once she realizes the truth about her husband ... See full summary »

Director: Max Ophüls
Stars: James Mason, Barbara Bel Geddes, Robert Ryan
The Chase (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Chuck Scott gets a job as chauffeur to tough guy Eddie Roman; but Chuck's involvement with Eddie's fearful wife becomes a nightmare.

Director: Arthur Ripley
Stars: Robert Cummings, Michèle Morgan, Steve Cochran
Film-Noir | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When a woman he meets is murdered, a soon to be drafted sailor has until dawn to find the killer, aided by a weary dance hall girl.

Directors: Harold Clurman, William Cameron Menzies
Stars: Susan Hayward, Bill Williams, Paul Lukas
The Big Steal (1949)
Crime | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An army lieutenant accused of robbery pursues the real thief on a frantic chase through Mexico aided by the thief's fiancee.

Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A telephone operator ends up drunk and at the mercy of a cad in his apartment. The next morning she wakes up with a hangover and the terrible fear she may be a murderess.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Anne Baxter, Richard Conte, Ann Sothern
Black Angel (1946)
Crime | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When Kirk Bennett is convicted of a singer's murder, his wife tries to prove him innocent...aided by the victim's ex-husband.

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Dan Duryea, June Vincent, Peter Lorre


Complete credited cast:
Charles Castle
Connie Bliss
Stanley Shriner Hoff
Ilka Chase ...
Patty Benedict
Nat Danziger
Horatio 'Hank' Teagle
Buddy Bliss
Nick Dennis ...
Mickey Feeney
Bill Walker ...
Michael Winkelman ...
Billy Castle (as Mike Winkelman)
Dixie Evans (as Miss Shelley Winters)


Charles Castle is a successful Hollywood actor who has opted for screen success over art. He must make critical decisions regarding his career, his marriage, his art & morality. In this screen adaptation of a Clifford Odets play, Castle is pressured by his studio boss and manipulated into a potentially murderous cover-up to protect his career. An indictment of the amoral world of 50's Hollywood and its corrosive effect upon the artist. Written by Thomas Robbin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The hottest hunk of film Hollywood ever shot ! See more »


Drama | Film-Noir


See all certifications »




Release Date:

25 November 1955 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hollywood-Story  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shelley Winters dedicated her performance to John Garfield. See more »


In the living room, as Hoff begins "We all love you..." his hands are clasped in front of him. But on the cut, in mid-sentence ("'re a great artist...") his arms are spread wide. See more »


[Wanting Charlie to woo Dixie, who's talking too much about Charlie's dangerous 'secret']
Smiley Coy: Call her.
Charlie Castle: All right. Anything for my art.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits: Upholstered furniture by Martin/ Brattrud. See more »


Version of ITV Play of the Week: The Big Knife (1958) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Adaption of Odets play a classic.
4 February 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This 1955 film was adapted from a play by Clifford Odets and James Poe. It is a dark study of the seedier side of Hollywood of it's time. Making all involved not such pleasant people. It centers around a top movie star, Charlie Castle (played brilliantly by Jack Palance) who wants out of the movie limelight in order to move on to better high grade films. But, the movie studios are not that eager to lose their sexy star. Most of the film is about Charlie and his struggle to come out ahead. With the studio boss (one of Rod Steiger's better roles), his wife (the wonderful Ida Lupino in another terrific performance); the sleezy studio promo man (Wendell Corey in a delicious underplayed role); and the agent (one of Everett Sloane's best performances). Also rounding out this stellar cast are Jean Hagen, as the wife of Charlie's best friend, and a gal out to get Charlie in bed, and Shelly Winters, who does well as a sort of dumb blonde being used by the studio to entertain executives. Thinking this is the way to become a movie star.

Robert Aldrich directed this classic with a deft touch and excellent interplay with his cast. A simple set allows the actors to do their work without the Hollywood tinsel. Made in black and white, this is drama at its best and the stars at their best. See this amazing film if you're an actor. It will teach you much.

30 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Chewing the scenery Bodine
Hoff = Cohn? Redmoskito
wes addy ksf-2
Hoff: Louis Mayer or Harry Cohn? louchilson
Imagine Garfield hildyjohnson1
The Weeknd - The Hills oknar1977
Discuss The Big Knife (1955) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: