Source:The New Democrat
“In this film version of Clifford Odets’ play, Jack Palance plays big-time movie star Charlie Castle, who refuses to sign a binding, $3000 per week contract with mogul Rod Steiger. Steiger tries to blackmail Palance into re-signing by revealing that Palance was behind the wheel during a hit-and-run accident.”
From Rotten Tomatoes
“The original trailer in high definition of the big knife directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey, Jean Hagen and Rod Steiger.”
From HD Retro TrailersI saw this movie last night ( the TCM version with Ben Mankiewicz ) in preparation for this post ( to give you and idea what we do for our readers at this blog ) and this movie was already one of my favorite movies going in, even though it had three years since I scene it last and it’s not just one of my favorite movies now, but I love the movie even more.
Words like great and perfection ( or if you prefer, awesome ) get thrown around a lot and overused a lot, but when I think of great or even perfect movie I think of movies like this. Think about it: great cast when you’re talking about Jack Palance one of the best Hollywood toughmen ever, as well as someone with a real dramatic flare and quick wit. Ida Lupino, not just one of the best actresses of the World War II generation regardless of genre, but one of the best ever and a helluva of a director and one of the first successful female directors ever. Hollywood Hall of Famers like Shelley Winters, and Jean Hagen, playing supportive roles. You’re talking about an all-star team here.
If Jack and Ida aren’t enough for you as far as leads, how about Rod Steiger and Wendell Corry. Steiger to me is sort of the Al Pacino of his generation where he can make small, almost seem unimportant roles and lines look like the best roles that we ever given and lines that were ever written, just because of his delivery. And also like Pacino he can make serious roles and lines seem very funny and have you laughing with him when you’re not supposed to, because of his comedic timing, improvisation, and dramatic ability. Wendell Corry as Stanley Hoff’s chief counsel, is simply one of the best character actors ever: like the great role player on a great basketball team, give him an assignment and he knocks it out of the park, regardless of what it is.
Shelley Winters, essentially plays herself in the movie: the big mouth Hollywood actress who knows too much about too many important people, who is frustrated with her studio bosses, who is as adorable and funny as can be, that everyone wants to be around, just as long as they don’t say anything that could hurt them. Jean Hagen, the beautiful, sexy, adorable slut of a wife who is unhappily married and wants to be involved with a Hollywood Stud like Charles Castle. ( Played by Jack Palance )
The marriage between Charlie Castle and his wife Marion of course is the main event: they both still are in love with each other, but are both very disappointed with each other. Marion, wants Charlie to leave the corrupt studio that is run by Stanley Hoff ( played by Rod Steiger ) and Charlie does too, but is not ready to make that break. And doesn’t like his wife interfering into his career that has made them rich and economically secure.
The Big Knife, is that great and even perfect movie where you have the all-star cast, as well as writing, where the whole story makes sense. And like a great soap opera, it has all the great backstories and subplots behind it with people who have something on someone else and keep each other inline like Stanley keeping Charles inline by not telling the police about a certain accident that he was involved in several years before, just as long as Charles keeps working for him. And other back stories like that. One of the best movies to ever come out of Hollywood, The Big Knife.