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Knife in the Water (1962)

Nóz w wodzie (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 28 October 1963 (USA)
On their way to a sailing trip, an aging husband and wife invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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Young Man
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Storyline

Well off Andrzej and Krystyna's marriage is at a stage where familiarity breeds contempt, that contempt which is outwardly shown only behind closed doors and only when an incident of some sort sets off one or the other. While driving through the countryside on a Sunday on their way to the lake to embark on an overnight sailing excursion, they almost run over a young male hitchhiker. Despite the antagonism between Andrzej and the hitchhiker, Andrzej offers him a ride as far as the marina. By the time they reach the lake, their antagonism has dissipated enough that Andrzej asks if he would like to join them on their sailing trip. The hitchhiker accepts despite knowing nothing about sailing. As the sailing trip progresses, the antagonism between the two men begins to increase again, fueled on both sides as each strives to be the alpha male. Andrzej needs to show his superiority, while the hitchhiker needs to show that his young age and inexperience, not only with sailing but with life in... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Poland's Official Academy Award Entry See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

28 October 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Knife in the Water  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roman Polanski had intended to take on the role of the young hitchhiker himself, but Jerzy Bossak, head of the Polish film unit KAMERA (under whose auspices the film was made), turned him down because he didn't consider the director attractive enough. The character's voice, however, is Polanski's, who later dubbed the part over. Zygmunt Malanowicz had a strong, developed, bass voice, which was quite inappropriate for the character. See more »

Goofs

After Young Boy takes out his knife to offer it to Krystyna, to cut the radishes he gave her, and then leans back to play the knife game with his hand, as he leans back the head of a light haired fourth person can be seen sticking up from the cabin behind him. This is presumably a crew member but the person is fairly unidentifiable due to the briefness of the shot and the angle of the persons head. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Andrzej: [sees the boy for the first time] Hitching at this hour.
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User Reviews

 
The games people play
30 December 2003 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Polanski's first feature, on paper, sounds like nothing more than a run-of-the-mill claustrophobic thriller set on a boat - a couple takes a loner on board, you figure out the rest. 'Dead Calm', 'The Deep', etc etc etc.

Instead, 'Knife In The Water' is an agonisingly tense look at male posturing & ego, the husband & hitch-hiker constantly challenging each other in every possible way - sailing prowess, games of fiddlesticks, knife throwing & just generally strutting about. There's almost never a single moment where the two aren't trying to trump each other, & one gets the impression that it's not even to impress the girl, so much as themselves. As the film progresses, the tension mounts & tempers fray.

In a Hollywood film, this would build up to a dramatic climax of violence & catharsis, accompanied with thunder & lightning. Polanski doesn't let us off the hook that easily - things get rough, but the games continue, right until the very end of the film.

Shot in black & white, with a cast of three, & virtually one small location, 'Knife In The Water' puts bigger films to shame. No stars, no pyrotechnics, no special effects, probably very little budget, & it's completely riveting from start to finish.

It was nominated for the Best Foreign Film at the Oscars - the first feature of a young Polish film student - & rightly so.

A brilliant start to a brilliant career.


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