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Knife in the Water (1962)

Nóz w wodzie (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 28 October 1963 (USA)
On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Jakub Goldberg (scenario), Roman Polanski (scenario) | 2 more credits »
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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 ... Andrzej
Jolanta Umecka ... Krystyna
Zygmunt Malanowicz ... Young Man
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Storyline

Well off Andrzej and Krystyna's marriage is at a stage where familiarity breeds contempt, that contempt which is outwardly shown only behind closed doors and only when an incident of some sort sets off one or the other. While driving through the countryside on a Sunday on their way to the lake to embark on an overnight sailing excursion, they almost run over a young male hitchhiker. Despite the antagonism between Andrzej and the hitchhiker, Andrzej offers him a ride as far as the marina. By the time they reach the lake, their antagonism has dissipated enough that Andrzej asks if he would like to join them on their sailing trip. The hitchhiker accepts despite knowing nothing about sailing. As the sailing trip progresses, the antagonism between the two men begins to increase again, fueled on both sides as each strives to be the alpha male. Andrzej needs to show his superiority, while the hitchhiker needs to show that his young age and inexperience, not only with sailing but with life in... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Poland's Official Academy Award Entry See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Poland

Language:

Polish

Release Date:

28 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Knife in the Water See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zespol Filmowy "Kamera" See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The cover of Time Magazine's Sept. 20, 1963 edition used a still from this film. The cover story was about international cinema. The cover photo's caption simply said "LOVERS IN POLISH FILM" without identifying the movie or the actors in the photo. See more »

Goofs

When the young boy is trying to stabilize the Christine by hanging off its side, you can see the railing of the camera boat in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Episode #10.26 (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Lubricated Blade
20 January 2005 | by tedgSee all my reviews

There is nothing more thrilling than discovering a natural filmmaker for the first time. There are only so many, and you can only have menarche once. Its an introduction into another life.

I first saw this in 1965 at the Orson Welles Cinema near Harvard Square. We were told it was made behind the backs of Iron Curtain thugs, only surviving because of international attention. (I wouldn't meet Tarkovsky or Kieslowski until later.) And that it was made by the fellow who had made the striking "Repulsion," which at that time was anticipated but yet unseen in the States.

I've since learned some striking things: that both Polanski and his co-writer wanted to play the hitchhiker and indeed it is Polanski's voice. And that the mistress who seems only half alive was in fact played by a non-actress they found by looking at swimming pools. Also that the situation was suggested by a long planned and discussed Orson Welles project ("The Deep") that was started after this and never completed.

The writing is good of course, especially the central image the title denotes, but the camera finds the perfect place always. It is like Altman's camera (after this) that discovers the action rather than, say Spielberg's where the action is obviously happening in such a way to be cleanly seen by the camera. And so much harder on a boat!

But the interesting thing about such an introduction to a filmmaker is the relationship that follows: we know certain things about how he thinks and sees. We expect the conversation to continue and mature over the years. And what a rocky ride this man has taken us on, through perfectly created worlds (in which I include "Ninth Gate") but also through pure dreck and rank sentimentality (both of which tag "The Pianist").

Sometimes he's internal to the narrative, even the charmed actor. Sometimes he is outside the narrative, pulling strings (as with this film) but sometimes it is clear he never got out of bed.

As with Kubrick and so many others, you really must start at the beginning, which essentially means here.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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