The Big Knife

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The Big Knife (1949) is a play by Clifford Odets (1906-1963).

The original text

A classic tale about keeping your integrity in the face of success. The original production, directed by Lee Strasberg, opened at Broadway's National Theatre on 24 February 1949.

Translations and adaptations

The play was made into a 1955 film directed by Robert Aldrich.

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Groot Mes ("the big knife") and adapted for radio by Suzanne van Wyk in 1966.

Performance history in South Africa

1965: Presented by CAPAB, opening 19 May 1965 at the Hofmeyr Theatre. Directed by Robert Aden, decor and costumes by Pamela Lewis. The cast: Glynn Day, Vaughan Scott, Robert Aden, Paddy Canavan, Mary McKinley, Johann Nell, Alec Bell, Simon Swindell, Reinet Maasdorp, Alan Prior, Ziona Garfield, Robert del Kyrke.

1966: Broadcast in Afrikaans as Die Groot Mes by the Afrikaans radio service of the SABC on 1 April at 19h30.


The Big Knife CAPAB theatre programme, 1965.

Copy of the Afrikaans radio text, Drama Department archive, Stellenbosch University.

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