Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cinema Cycle - The Big Knife

(Cardio Workout And Reviewing Movies At The Same Time)

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DATE: 12/18/2014

FORMAT: LaserDisc

TIME RIDDEN / FILM LENGTH: 1 hour 55 minutes



SYNOPSIS: An idealistic actor is blackmailed into signing a contract because of an incident in his past that the studio has covered up.

CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: Selling out your values or choosing to be the person you always envisioned yourself to be in order to save your career and the people you truly care about.

PROS AND CONS: A fascinating film.  It is basically a play that was transferred to the screen and retains much of the thespian feel and look.  There are some powerhouse performances here by Jack Palance and Rod Steiger.  

It dawned on me while watching this, that the current generation does not talk or communicate in this way much anymore with the advent of social media and texting.  In this film there is dialogue and it is powerful and emotional.  These characters are idealistic, ashamed, sorrowful, frustrated and confused and they spell it all out in acting that isn’t seen much anymore.

One of the stars of the film is the sprawling Bel Air mansion where the movie was filmed (a sound stage to be sure, but impressive never-the-less).  The main living room appears well over 1,000 square feet, larger than most modern day track homes, and the camera moves through it seamlessly as if you were walking around with the actors and were part of the play.

The film shows a side of Hollywood in its 1950s heyday, with all the hedonism, vanity and politics that were associated with film making at that time.  It was a fantasy world ruled by manipulative puppet masters, where all the marionettes lived in luxury and debauchery.  A fascinating window on the past.

To read an overview of this project, check out the initial post for this series.

This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. 

This film was viewed while exercising on my recumbent cycle.  A summary of my time spent working out on my journey through movie-land can be found on

The summary of the project and a glimpse of what is coming up next can be found on my public LaserDisc spreadsheet.