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201 Ratings

The Big Knife

Directed by Robert Aldrich
United States, 1955
Drama, Film noir


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.

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The Big Knife Directed by Robert Aldrich
It’s Palance’s visceral dramatization of Charlie’s uncertainty, which pivots on oxymoronically powerful weakness, that ties The Big Knife’s broad symbols and big acting and orating together, particularly grounding the film after Steiger goes off the rails in a performance that’s insane even by this highly subjective standard of reality.
September 27, 2017
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The film never strays far from his living room, giving it a claustrophobically theatrical feel. It is an adaptation of the Clifford Odets play, done faithfully by director Robert Aldrich and screenwriter James Poe. The first independent feature Aldrich directed, for his newly formed The Associates and Aldrich Company, it is a relentless, and at times exhausting, jeremiad against the dehumanizing manipulations of Hollywood executives.
April 18, 2017
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The Big Knife, perhaps the best screen transfer of a Clifford Odets play, preceded the more gothic Baby Jane and the utterly nutty Legend of Lylah Clare (1968) in the Hollywood-as-Dante’s-hell genre, but along with Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd. (1950), Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950), and Vincente Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), it’s as corrosive an image of the dream factory as one could expect from an insider at the very time the studio system was under siege.
September 12, 2016
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