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 ... See full summary »
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
Wow...overwrought, overacted, over-the-top melodrama trying ever-so-hard to be *about* something. But it's really not about much, despite the putative 'Corrupt-Hollywood' theme. Just a series of intermittently-entertaining, scenery-chewing set pieces in a Bel-Air living room.
A whole lot of talent wasted here--acting, writing, not so much directing. Fans of the film's several excellent actors will survive this viewing more readily than others. Everyone's finest chops--and then some--are on display, over and over, desperately in search of significance. Even the music is ridiculously overdone. "Pay attention! This is wrenching drama!" Only, it's not.
"The Big Knife" reminds me of nothing so much as a lame stage play where shouting and noisemaking take the place of genuine dramatic tension. This whole mess was generously forgotten in a couple years, thanks to 1957's vastly superior "Sweet Smell of Success" --check that one out instead.
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