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Knife in the Water (1962)
"Nóz w wodzie" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  28 October 1963 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 12,471 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 73 critic

On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leon Niemczyk ...
...
...
Young Boy
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Storyline

An attractive young woman, Christine, takes the wheel of a car belonging to her partner Andrzej, a sports columnist. While he criticizes her driving skills, a reckless student leaps out in front of the car. Andrzej gives the student a ride and invites him to accompany them on their yacht trip. Attracted to Christine, the student becomes increasingly clumsy. He spends his time jabbing the point of a pocket knife rapidly between the fingers of his other hand. Andrzek argues with the student, who topples overboard, vanishing into the lake. Andrzej dives in to save him, though he fails to find the student and swims ashore. Despite an earlier claim that he couldn't swim, the student manages to hide behind the nearest buoy. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

young man | sail | knife | hitchhiker | sailing | See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 October 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Knife in the Water  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During one of top mast shots, the cameramen Jerzy Lipman was tied to the mast and hold a camera. Although the wind was not strong, the mast swung and the camera was heavy, so it was very difficult to take a good shot. All the time the director Roman Polanski was very excited about the shot and kept asking how it was going. Lipman got very angry and said "Fuck! It is fucking beautiful!" and... dropped the camera to the water. He had forgotten to attach it with the safety cable. The Arriflex camera couldn't be found by the divers and still lies somewhere in the lake. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie when Andrzej and Krystyna are driving away from the harbor, the boats in the background change between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Andrzej: [sees the boy for the first time] Hitching at this hour.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Episode #1.8 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The games people play
30 December 2003 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Polanski's first feature, on paper, sounds like nothing more than a run-of-the-mill claustrophobic thriller set on a boat - a couple takes a loner on board, you figure out the rest. 'Dead Calm', 'The Deep', etc etc etc.

Instead, 'Knife In The Water' is an agonisingly tense look at male posturing & ego, the husband & hitch-hiker constantly challenging each other in every possible way - sailing prowess, games of fiddlesticks, knife throwing & just generally strutting about. There's almost never a single moment where the two aren't trying to trump each other, & one gets the impression that it's not even to impress the girl, so much as themselves. As the film progresses, the tension mounts & tempers fray.

In a Hollywood film, this would build up to a dramatic climax of violence & catharsis, accompanied with thunder & lightning. Polanski doesn't let us off the hook that easily - things get rough, but the games continue, right until the very end of the film.

Shot in black & white, with a cast of three, & virtually one small location, 'Knife In The Water' puts bigger films to shame. No stars, no pyrotechnics, no special effects, probably very little budget, & it's completely riveting from start to finish.

It was nominated for the Best Foreign Film at the Oscars - the first feature of a young Polish film student - & rightly so.

A brilliant start to a brilliant career.


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