At the end of the Second World War six German ex-soldiers return to Berlin and set up as a bomb disposal group. The pressure of the dangerous work starts to affect them, the more so as they... See full summary »
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.
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
Robert Aldrich rather cattily laid the blame for the film's box office failure at the door of Jack Palance, claiming that he didn't have leading man looks. This obviously didn't bother both parties too much as Palance worked with Aldrich several times later in his career, starting with Attack (1956) the following year. See more »
The camera and operator are visibly reflected in one scene in the living room. See more »
The Big Knife is a mostly good adaptation of a Clifford Odets play about a Hollywood actor who's being blackmailed into studio servitude while trying to patch up his failing marriage. This is a movie for which the word powerful was truly invented. Most of the film takes place on one set and places heavy emphasis on speeches from the individual characters for its really riveting moments (as I would expect from a stage play), but those moments definitely get across. The whole cast is good, but Jack Palance in a nuanced and fiery performance as the actor Charlie Castle, and Rod Steiger, giving a deeply felt and passionate realization of the corrupt studio boss are nothing short of superb. The screenplay is full of smart, incisive, biting dialogue as well. Except for a melodramatic turn at the end, that, for me, takes a lot of the edge off the story, this is a well-acted film that is solid, though not spectacular, entertainment. 3*** out of 4
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