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The 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 12,592 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 2 wins & 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

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

28 October 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Knife in the Water  »

Company Credits

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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.
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Connections

Referenced in The Fall (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the powerhouse debuts is a minimalist, existential suspense film
18 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Knife in the Water is the kind of film that works beautifully at making so much out of seemingly so little. A little tale of a couple who ask a hitch-hiker they pick up to come along with them for a sail on the lakes is all the story there is. But within that story are little bits that keep the story pumping, alive. There's also a style that lends itself to a kind of film-making that was just budding with the new-wave movements of the 60's.

Roman Polanski, who co-wrote and directed the film (as well giving an entire voice-over to the hitch-hiker), is careful in reeling in the emotions out of little dialog, and is also granted two tremendous assets aside from the actors: 1) Jerzy Lipman's crisp, free-flowing, and usually tight (to get the tenseness of the three characters) b/w photography draws one in by it's deep focus and sometimes documentary feel.

2) Krzysztof Komeda's jazz soundtrack. Polanski uses the riffs of the soft, easy-going side of the weekend-out; the up-beat pacing when a humorous situation occurs when the hitch-hiker loses control of the boat; the variations that sometimes occur with the simple shots of a boat sailing fast and slow across the water. Komeda's score for the film is among one of the better ones I've ever heard, in regards to it being a great work on it's own, and to corresponding to the film (he would later provide the memorable theme to Polanski's Rosemary's Baby).

The acting itself is interesting in what is not said between them, what has to be said by their expressions. The fact that the three have distinct personalities adds to the tenseness- it would've been more conventional if the hitch-hiker (Zygmunt Malanowicz) wanted to come on and stay, but Andzrej (Leon Miemczyk) is the more insistent one. Krystyna (Jolanta Umecka), meanwhile, never says more than the other two, but is perhaps smarter as well. One thing that definitely shows the film breaking away from the attitudes of the 50's in the emphasis on the sexual tension, and the actors convey that very well when called upon - adding to this, Umecka is a total, natural knock-out, if not entirely in performance (though the quiet, inward quality is when she's at her best).

Simply, Knife in the Water is an observant, amusing, eye-widening experience, and it ranks as one of the premiere debuts of cinema. A+


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