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The Big Knife [DVD]

8 customer reviews

Price: £9.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
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Rent The Big Knife on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post
£9.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Actors: Jack Palance, Ida Lupino, Wendell Corey, Jean Hagen, Rod Steiger
  • Directors: Robert Aldrich
  • Producers: Robert Aldrich
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 31 Aug. 2009
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002BC9YR0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,855 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

The Hollywood studio system is the subject of director Robert Aldrich's amoral tale of greed and power. Film actor Charles Castle (Jack Palance) has made a successful career for himself by negotiating the swings and roundabouts of the star system. Now, refusing to sign a new long-term contract for movie mogul Stanley Hoff (Rod Steiger) brings him into direct conflict with the megalomaniacal studio boss. When the appeals of his agent fall on deaf ears, Hoff raises the ante, threatening blackmail with a lurid incident from the star's past.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 May 2012
Format: DVD
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. The DVD's transfer is excellent, with no visible flaws, good contrast and very good sound, with just a hint of hiss at high volumes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mario on 23 Mar. 2015
Format: DVD
There are a number of problems with this film, but you have to say that the performances are very good if it were on a stage. Clifford Odets' play is brought to the screen as a kind of (rich) independent's cocking-a-snook at the studio system when it was already well into decline and the dialogue (some of it dreary, some of it cleverly allusive but never really film language) is fit only for the stage. So much so that the reverential intoning and over-playing of the lines by Rod Steiger makes it sound like he thinks it's Shakespeare. Jack Palance is too good a film actor to let it be disastrous but it is too long, too much in the lounge and too dull despite the melodramatics and the 'meaty parts for 8 good actors' that might have made it a successful Broadway night out for New York liberals before they went uptown to a club and waited for the 60s to arrive. Edward Everett Horton gets the Mario - an award for giving of your best in an average film. Not a patch on Kiss Me Deadly, so if you've never seen it, don't be fooled into thinking it's one of those.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CHRISTINE McAFEE on 7 April 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was amazed at the superb quality of Jack Palance's acting. The film is extremely hard-hitting and still relevant today.
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By john on 28 Jun. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very Pleased
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