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The Big Knife (1955)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 25 November 1955 (France)
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Hollywood actor Charles Castle is pressured by his studio boss into a criminal cover-up to protect his valuable career.

Director:

Robert Aldrich

Writers:

James Poe (adapted for the screen by), Clifford Odets (stage play)
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jack Palance ... Charles Castle
Ida Lupino ... Marion Castle
Wendell Corey ... Smiley Coy
Jean Hagen ... Connie Bliss
Rod Steiger ... Stanley Shriner Hoff
Ilka Chase ... Patty Benedict
Everett Sloane ... Nat Danziger
Wesley Addy ... Horatio 'Hank' Teagle
Paul Langton ... Buddy Bliss
Nick Dennis ... Mickey Feeney
Bill Walker ... Russell
Michael Winkelman ... Billy Castle (as Mike Winkelman)
Shelley Winters ... Dixie Evans (as Miss Shelley Winters)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

REVEALED...The dark secrets behind the glamour of a famous star...the women in his life that hushed-up scandals...the ruthless forces that stalked him! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 November 1955 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Hollywood-Story See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$423,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,250,000, 31 December 1955
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (5.0) (L-R)| Mono (Glen Glenn Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two years later, Robert Aldrich's career looked all but over when he was fired from a Columbia movie called The Garment Jungle (1957). Columbia head Harry Cohn happily handed him his marching papers when he realized halfway through filming that this was the same director who had made The Big Knife (1955). Although he was never officially blacklisted, Aldrich had real difficulty securing other work and had to go to Europe where he made the Hammer film Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) and the Biblical epic Sodom and Gomorrah (1962). See more »

Goofs

The camera and operator are visibly reflected in one scene in the living room. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Castle: There's a word for you.
Connie Bliss: Why don't you say it, darling?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Pulp Cinema (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slightly better than average melodrama
20 November 2002 | by funkyfrySee all my reviews

A charged, stage-bound melodrama, with Palance as a movie star in servitude to the studio boss (Steiger) who's blackmailing him. His wife (Lupino) won't agree to live with him until he's his own man again, which means not renewing his 7 year contract.

Palance does his best, but he's not the kind of actor who can show a character going through real transitions and hold the audience's attention for an entire film. Steiger is allowed to go over the top a few too many times, but Corey provides some of the film's best moments as his more ruthless, and at the same time gentlemanly, henchman. Sloane provides an unusual characterization as a somewhat sissified agent.

Ultimately, too cramped in its one room location (which may have been done deliberately to show the character's isolation from the world, but still produced a stagey effect that bind the film too tightly).


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