At the beginning of Feud: Bette and Joan, 43 year-old director Robert Aldrich (portrayed by 64 year-old Alfred Molina) is a fearful, verging-on-desperate journeyman whose most recent film, Sodom and Gomorrah, is considered an embarassment. He’s on the ropes, in need of a hit.

But in the mid ’50s, and particularly in the wake of the commercially successful Vera Cruz and the hard-bitten Kiss Me Deadly, Aldrich was a comer, a prince of pulp, a stylist extraordinaire. Six months after his apocalyptic detective noir opened in May ’55, Aldrich’s hard-hitting adaptation of Clifford OdetsThe Big Knife hit theatres. Two and a half months earlier Knife had won the Venice Film Festival’s Silver Lion award. The costars are Jack Palance, Rod Steiger, Shelley Winters, Ida Lupino, Jean Hagen and Everett Sloane.

Arrow’s region 2 Bluray version, the result of a new 2K restoration from original film elements, pops on 8.28.