6.8/10
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The Big Knife (1955)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 25 November 1955 (France)
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)
Reviews
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:

With Razor-Edge Sharpness It Reveals the Shocking Private Life of a Glamorous Hollywood Star! (original print ad) 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)
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

The scandalous cover-up depicted in the film is supposedly based on a real-life incident involving a young John Huston. Louis B. Mayer apparently paid gossip columnist Louella Parsons a large sum of money not to disclose the incident in her column. See more »

Goofs

In the living room, as Hoff begins "We all love you..." his hands are clasped in front of him. But on the cut, in mid-sentence ("...you're a great artist...") his arms are spread wide. See more »

Quotes

Stanley Hoff: [to Castle, after being slapped] I'll - break - you!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in American Cinema: The Studio System See more »

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User Reviews

 
Overwritten and overacted -- what's not to like
24 May 2005 | by gws-2See all my reviews

"The Big Knife" is really a stage play recorded on film. It's a Hollywood soap opera that features a lot of good actors eating the scenery. Rod Steiger and Everett Sloan are great as the monstrous studio honcho and weaselly agent, respectively. Jack Palance is a competent actor but was woefully miscast as the sensitive, tortured matinée idol -- nobody would ever confuse Palance with a matinée idol. Nevertheless, he does an adequate job.

The power of the studio system in the '50s is well depicted, if a bit overwrought. Steiger's performance is particularly delicious as his toweringly self-centered character cries, wheedles, and intimidates his underlings into doing what he wants.

The movie is showing its age but its excesses, especially its colorful language, are a lot of fun. Recommended, 7 out of 10.


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