The Big Knife

Robert AldrichUSA113 minutes195514AB&WEnglish

View The Big Knife during the The Big Knife introduced by Jesse Wente event.

Hollywood leading man Charlie Castle (Jack Palance) seems to have it all: a fancy house, a beautiful wife (Ida Lupino), and the adoration of millions. But in Hollywood, appearances are usually deceiving, and Castle is actually perched on the edge of a precipice: not only is his marriage on the rocks, but he is struggling to escape from the clutches of the domineering studio boss (Rod Steiger) who is willing to do anything to keep his number-one box-office attraction, including blackmail. Based on Clifford Odets' Broadway hit (which the famed left-wing playwright intended as an allegory of the Hollywood blacklist), The Big Knife is a vigorous indictment of Hollywood amorality, shallowness and ruthlessness, one that echoes Lupino's own battles with the studios and determination to carve out an independent path for herself as an artist. Though the film was a failure at the domestic box office, it was awarded the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival and remains a fascinating attempt at Hollywood self-exposé.

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