The Big Knife
by: Fred M.
The Big Knife was a major broadway play that starred John Garfield back in the late 1940's. It was later turned into a powerful film in 1955 starring Jack Palance, Ida Lupino and Shelley Winters among a large cast. PBS produced this newest version of the play written by Clifford Odets without changing or trying to update it and the results are terrific.
Although the entire cast is excellent it is Peter Gallagher who shines in the main role. He is handsome, arrogant, sexy, vulnerable, nasty and sympathetic all at the same time. He plays a somewhat cocky film star who really thinks he is the be all and end all and that even his wife is lucky to have him. What he eventually comes to realize is that he is just like everyone else which leads to a tragic but inevitable end. The production was crisp, videotaped rather than filmed which lends an air of theater to the entire production. It is well written, smoothly directed, fast paced and should definitely not be missed by anyone who likes good theater and especially Peter Gallagher. Lets hope PBS will eventually release this on video/dvd.