Hollywood on Hollywood: 'They louse you up, and then they call you a louse'. Aldrich coaxes independent, intense performances from Clifford Odets' wordy and stagebound script, which is left to wrestle with its own rather precious liberal conscience while Aldrich concentrates upon what interests him more: the problems of survival and redemption. Undoubtedly daring in its day, The Big Knife remains intelligent and literate, but saved from 'safety' by Palance and Steiger's obviously mutual loathing. Palance's performance as the cracking star shows that he once had a great capacity for suffering, and Steiger's hammy outrageousness (playing a mixture of studio bosses Cohn and Mayer) has never been so adroitly exploited.
Cast and crew