6.8/10
3,059
57 user 40 critic

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:

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)
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 painting prominently displayed is 'The Pierrot' (1920) by Georges Rouault (1871-1958) now on display at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Smiley Coy: What do you think of women, kiddie?
Charlie Castle: Oh, there's room in the world for 'em.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

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User Reviews

 
"Failure is not Permitted here"....
8 May 2012 | by tim-764-291856See all my reviews

Bel Air. The well-manicured area of LA where the successful actors, producers and directors in Hollywood live. So says the opening voice- over.

Jack Palance, not the obvious choice for a leading man (& director Robert Aldrich's lame excuse for the film's box office failure) has never been better, nor has he had such a meaty role. His portrayal of pent-up anger and frustration is powerful yet still believable.

He's the washed up star who's unravelling at the seams, wrestling with a dark secret and Rod Steiger, complete with blonde hairdo as his studio manager who is out to keep a lid on bad publicity at all costs. He will stop at nothing at getting a new contract signed.

Ida Lupino is also extremely fine as Charles Castle's (Palance) wife. Their marriage is on the rocks and she pleads that Charles takes the rest that he desperately needs and to not sign. She won't go back to him otherwise. There's good support from tease Shelley Winters and as Charles' agent, Everett Sloane plus Wendell Corey as a ruthless producer.

Much of the action takes place in the Castle's vast living room, nodding to the theatrics of the original play by Clifford Odets.

This is a slow-burning, quite talky, intelligent character-led and well scripted study of Hollywood's mechanics - its layers of people. Not as flashy or melodramatic as some and certainly not as well known, but still directed with surety and skill. Today's viewer will have to adjust to the pace and style but that's easy and the rewards to those attuned can be high.

There's enough depth to the material for a second viewing, which helps bring out the characters even more vividly.


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