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Knife in the Water (The Criterion Collection) (1963)

Leon Niemczyk , Jolanta Umecka , Roman Polanski  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Leon Niemczyk, Jolanta Umecka, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Jakub Goldberg, Henryk Kluba
  • Directors: Roman Polanski
  • Writers: Jakub Goldberg, Andrzej Kondratiuk, Roman Polanski, Jerzy Skolimowski
  • Producers: Roman Polanski, Jean-Pierre Rousseau, Karen Stetler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Polish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: September 16, 2003
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AINJ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,352 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Knife in the Water (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • At the request of the director, search and step functions have been disabled
  • Disc One:
  • New transfer with restored elements
  • Video Interview with director Roman Polanski and co-screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski
  • A collection of rare publicity and production stills
  • English subtitle translation by Roman Polanski
  • Disc Two:
  • 8 early short films (1957-1962) by director Roman Polanski:
  • "Teeth Smile," "Break Up the Dance," "Two Men and a Wardrobe," "Murder," "The Lamp," "When Angels Fall, "The Fat and the Lean, and "Mammals"

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Director Roman Polanski's first feature film is a subtly chilling tale about a married couple who pick up a young hitchhiker and invite him to join them on a boating trip that culminates in violence. In Polish with English subtitles. 2 DVDs. 1962/b&w/94 min/NR/fullscreen.

From the Back Cover

Roman Polanski's first feature is a brilliant psychological thriller that many critics still consider among his greatest work. The story is simple, yet the implications of its characters' emotions and actions are profound. When a young hitchhiker joins a couple on a weekend yacht trip, psychological warfare breaks out as the two men compete for the woman's attention. A storm forces the small crew below deck, and tension builds to a violent climax. With stinging dialogue and a mercilessly probing camera, Polanski creates a disturbing study of fear, humiliation, sexuality, and aggression. This remarkable directorial debut won Polanski worldwide acclaim, a place on the cover of Time, and his first Oscar¨ nomination.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars but with 1 major complaint October 7, 2003
By A Customer
Polanski's classic is one of my all time favorite films and Criterion has done a fine job transferring it to DVD, hence the 5-star rating. Viewers should know, however, that at the request of the director, Criterion has disabled the step frame function as well as the ability to scan forward or backward. Only the chapter up and down feature is still functional as well as the ability to place the program in still frame without single frame advance or reverse. A liner note on the inside of the package alerts viewers only to the missing step frame feature but not to the fact that these other features have ALSO been disabled. And there is no mention made of ANY of these missing features anywhere on the outside of the packaging. Needless to say, not being able to scan forward or backward is a major inconvenience since it's impossible to review a scene without returning all the way to the beginning of the chapter. This is especially unfortunate with a subtitled film. If a line of dialogue flies by while you're busy admiring the visuals, you're out of luck since there's no easy way to back up quickly. All of this might have been less objectionable if the DVD had been more heavily chaptered, but alas, that is not the case, either. Let's hope that this is one very peculiar concession to a director that is not repeated any time soon.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By bdlion
A fascinating, suspensful film debut for Roman Polanski, who already shows great promise with his amazingly original camera angles and creative shots. However, Criterion allowed Polanski to dictate the terms of the disc in which the step back/forward function is disabled. This is maddening, especially if one misses a subtitle or two when pondering some of his amazing shots.
Another complaint I have is about the subtitles. I don't speak Polish, but it seems to me there is a lot of spoken dialogue that is not translated into English. I can recall several instances when the characters speak, but no subtitles appear. A harmless error, or a glaring mistake? I don't have an answer.
This doesn't detract from the movie itself, which is excellent. Five stars would have been given if not for these flaws. However, I do hope Criterion does not repeat the very rude mistake of disabling disc functions in any other future editions of their releases. Another reviewer got it right: "Polanski controls his set, not my DVD player."
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Three people aboard a fairly leisurely sailboat excursion on a Polish lake, sounds rather dull, but Roman Polanski's first feature length film is an absorbing intense drama in which even the mundane manual rigors of sailing becomes an exciting metaphor of human manipulation. The three characters, (the only three people seen in the entire movie, as a cost saving measure Polanski tells us in the DVD extra), are as perfectly formed and developed, understated and powerful, as we could expect from an Ingmar Bergman troupe of actors. Unlike most DVD extra director interviews, Polanski's inclusion of surprising facts about the film actually enhances the viewing of it. We learn of the difficulties involved with getting a film accepted by the then, (1962), socialist minded, communist controlled Polish film board, which explains some unusual dialogue concerning the difficulties of being a university student. The dialogue was added only after the censor board determined the film was of no social value. The actress, Jolanta Umecka, in an accomplished solid performance, was discovered at a municipal swimming pool, specifically for the casting of the film, and had no previous acting credentials. The actor, Zygmunt Malanowicz, had an inappropriate high pitched voice, so it was dubbed by Polanski's own speaking voice. The film itself is perfect satisfying drama. The DVD extras, including several Polanski student films, makes it shine all the more.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserving of more publicity October 5, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This film isn't among the top 100 in the AFI listing, but it should be. I agree with the previous comments about its potential dis-favor with modern viewers, but as an artistic film this one ranks way up there. The photograpy is superb and in a medium of black and white.
The story line is about a wealty husband who thinks very little about his wife's abilities, claiming that she would be nothing without him. The couple picks up a teen on the road on the way to sailing, and the husband begins a competive power struggle with the more sensitive and naive hitch-hiker. The resulting response is a secretive and rebellious affair between the wife and the teen.
Nearly all of the film takes place in a cramped sailboad in a lake in Poland. The filming is absolutely beautiful. The overall tone is very relaxing, and at times slow-paced for "modern" action seekers. It has a "retro" sixties feel to it with a solo sax as musical accompliment. This is an intelligent movie for people who really love good photography.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping... August 22, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Isn't it peculiar that a film without overly dramatic twists, cliffhangers, devoid of needless talk, noise, and special effects can be so appealing, enticing, and beautiful... Body language, particularly gestures and glances, play crucial roles here. The most is said when nothing is spoken. The film is both serene and haunting. It leaves an unforgettable, yet intangible, impression that I remember very distinctly today, over 5 years after seeing it. This is an experience not to be missed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Knife in the waiter!
Published 11 days ago by shrinkrap66
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic Polanski... seemingly all is well ...
A classic Polanski...seemingly all is well whilst all the while indescribable tension boils beneath the surface.
Published 1 month ago by B. Koral
1.0 out of 5 stars Not in English
We did not see a description of this movie stating it is not in english. Very disappointed with Amazon's write up.
Published 10 months ago by Timothy W. O'Connor
1.0 out of 5 stars I learned a lot of Polish curse words from this. Otherwise,...
Man mad at much younger wife almost runs over hitchhiker- because he is yelling at wife. Man insults young rugged hitchhiker, but picks him up anyway. Read more
Published 11 months ago by BallerinaAstronaut
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
Lots of tension and keeps you wondering and analyzing the whole movie. Charaters are real and human.
Beautifully filmed in black and white
Published 14 months ago by Helen Summerbread
4.0 out of 5 stars "Good Polanski Film"
I didn't know what to expect when I first saw this film. I had heard about it from reading Roman's autobiography so Id thought I should watch it and see what jumpstarted his career... Read more
Published 14 months ago by pianoguy87
3.0 out of 5 stars intriguing but inconclusive
The plot failed to deliver. It did not have to be much more than it had but it was still not enough. Read more
Published 22 months ago by .fgd
3.0 out of 5 stars Polanski's debut is entertaining but not a truly mature effort
Released in 1962, KNIFE IN THE WATER (Polish: Nóz w wodzie) was director Roman Polanski's full-length debut. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Christopher Culver
5.0 out of 5 stars Knife, A Cut Above
"Lifeboat" has multiple characters to distract you while viewing. "Knife in fhe Water" has but 3.
The sexual tension & temptations of the three, would later be recaptured in... Read more
Published on September 21, 2012 by Dedprez11
5.0 out of 5 stars Polanski's Stellar Debut
Knife in the Water, Roman Polanski's first film (1962), is widely considered to be one of the two greatest directorial debuts in film history next to Citizen Kane. Read more
Published on June 12, 2010 by Tom
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