Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Big Knife (1955)

A film actor (Jack Palance) doesn't want to renew his studio contract because he wants to be free from the tyranny of the studio head (Rod Steiger) and the inferior movies he's given to do. His wife (Ida Lupino) encourages him in this but the studio has a hold on him by threatening to reveal a crime that another man (Paul Hampton) was sent to prison for. Based on the 1949 play by Clifford Odets and directed by Robert Aldrich (KISS ME DEADLY). This feverish venal valentine to Hollywood holds nothing back! The cheap tinsel is pulled away gleefully revealing all the rot and moral decay underneath. Its acidity makes SUNSET BOULEVARD seem like apple juice! But the film has more than its share of imperfections. Odets' often sanctimonious dialog (adapted for the screen by James Poe) can be hard to take. With one ghastly exception, the acting is first rate. One would think a film with Palance, Steiger and Shelley Winters (as a starlet) would be rife with overacting but all three are relatively restrained and when one of them busts open (like Steiger does occasionally), it's never out of character. The one bad performance comes from poor Wesley Addy as a writer. It's not just that his acting is so enervated but he's saddled with the worst dialog of anyone in the cast. With Wendell Corey, Jean Hagen, Everett Sloane, Ilka Chase and Nick Dennis. 

No comments:

Post a Comment