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The Big Knife (1955)

Cast: Jack Palance, Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, more...
Director: Robert Aldrich, Robert Aldrich
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: MGM
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 114 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

Robert Aldrich's screen adaptation of Clifford Odets' stage play reflects the quandary of the writer's later career; the golden boy of the Group Theater in the '30s, when his plays were the toast of Broadway, his talent seemed to wither after a number of years in the screenwriting trenches, and a revulsion for what he saw as hackwork combined with his capitulation to HUAC to blight his final decade. Jack Palance stars as Charlie Castle, a major film star who has refused to sign a long-term contract for big money with a studio run by the tyrannical Stanley Hoff (Rod Steiger). This has led to the return of his wife, Marion (Ida Lupino), who had left him due to his womanizing and a willingness to kowtow to Hoff in doing bad movies only for the money. After his agent, Nat Danziger (Everett Sloane), tries unsuccessfully to get him to reconsider, Hoff himself badgers Charlie, insisting on the absolute necessity of his signing. When the star continues to resist, Hoff threatens to blackmail him with an ugly incident from his past. ~ Michael Costello, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

uh by rarcher October 22, 2003 - 6:28 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
in response to the previous review
the title = the punchline of the whole movie
you'll probably get it about 2/3rds into the film

and the movie IS crammed with these unusual pseudosexual things between the men - the massaging, touching, grabbing, pet names... - probably 1 of the most amusing things about the film

overall, i liked the movie, but as the other reviewer stated, they filmed it like a play which doesn't always make for the best pacing in a film - it drags a lot and the acting goes so far over the melodramatic top

rod steiger cracked me up with his very weird beautifully overacted character - sort of like brando doing lorre

and the film is loaded with great lines "never underestimate someone because you don't like them"...

Not a Noir by glamarama January 6, 2003 - 11:52 PM PST
6 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Where was the knife? Perhaps it was symbolic of the big studio system... but with this title I was expecting a real noir and got dull movieland melodrama instead. This was originally a play and was filmed like one. The only thing that was remotely interesting was Shelly Winters' character of the used and abused starlet, Dixie Evans (which was a burlesque star's name in the 50's) and the discreet homosexual undertones between Palance and his agent/manager. Ida Lupino was totally underused.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.30)
27 Votes
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