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Edge of Darkness (1943)

 -  Drama | War  -  24 April 1943 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,114 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 13 critic

After two years under German rule, a small Norwegian fishing village rises up and revolts against the occupying Nazis.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Edge of Darkness (1943)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Karen Stensgard
...
Dr. Martin Stensgard
Nancy Coleman ...
Katja
Helmut Dantine ...
Captain Koenig
...
Gerd Bjarnesen
...
Anna Stensgard
John Beal ...
Johann Stensgard
Morris Carnovsky ...
Sixtus Andresen
Charles Dingle ...
Kaspar Torgerson
Roman Bohnen ...
Lars Malken
Richard Fraser ...
Pastor Aalesen
Art Smith ...
Knut Osterholm
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Storyline

It's two years after the Nazi's invasion of Norway and in a small fishing village that is headquarters to 150 German soldiers, the 800 locals are stewing, waiting for a supply of arms so they can revolt. Leaders include Karen Stensgard, whose father is the town's doctor and not all that sure that an open revolt will accomplish much and whose brother has proven disloyal to Norway previously, and Gunnar Brogge, a fisherman who was planning to sail to England to fight but changed his mind on hearing of English arms being delivered. Although the Nazi's cruelty is evident, the townspeople bide their time, until one incident causes the stewpot to boil over. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A story incomparable of a people unconquerable.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 April 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Norway in Revolt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names, if any): Michael Mark (Fisherman), Al Bridge (Whaler), Victor Potel, Richard Kipling and Vera Lewis. See more »

Goofs

The machine guns used by the Germans are in fact; American Browning M1917, and M1919 water cooled, and M1919 air cooled machine guns. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Martin Stensgard: Why must everything in the world be either black or white?
Karen Stensgard: Because that's the way the world is these days.
See more »

Connections

Edited into The Extraordinary Seaman (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

A Mighty Fortress is Our God (Ein' Feste Burg)
(uncredited)
Traditional German hymn
Lyrics by Martin Luther (1535)
English translation by Frederick H. Hedge (1853)
Played and sung offscreen by an unidentified chorus during the opening credits, in the church,
and at the end
Variations in the score throughout
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An excellent WWII propaganda film that improves with each viewing despite some heavily melodramatic elements throughout...
1 December 2006 | by (Petersburg, Vasaria) – See all my reviews

When I first saw this film a few months ago, I found it a bit tedious in places and its melodramatic elements laughable. However, I decided to view the film again recently and I appreciated the film all the more. Yes, it's Hollywood propaganda and the story borders on fantasy, but it's a thoroughly entertaining film once you're familiar with the complex story.

The acting, direction, writing, cinematography, and editing are all excellent. Under Lewis Milestone's atmospheric direction, all the performances are sincere and almost never forced--particularly Ruth Gordon, Nancy Coleman, and Morris Carnovsky in supporting roles, who are my favorite performers in the film. The writing is natural and the characterizations are believable enough. The film's most memorable aspect is the brilliant black-and-white cinematography by Sidney Hickox, relying on zoom effects, focus depth, tracking shots, close-ups, and many other imaginative devices in order to make this film entirely watchable from beginning to end. It's a pity that the cinematography did not earn an Oscar nomination. The film has the usual fast-paced Warner Bros. editing techniques that were a trademark of the studio's films at the time. The Martin Luther hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" is put to stirring use throughout the film's score.

The climactic town revolt is very exciting and Lewis Milestone's directing skills are up to his very best capabilities here. The actions sequences, while not graphic or bloody, are up the level of the best action-packed war films. It is an extremely suspenseful, visually compelling sequence that lasts almost a half-hour.

However, there are drawbacks to this film. Franz Waxman, my least favorite classic film composer, adds a mostly forgettable and intrusively melodramatic score that's bound to provoke laughter rather than chills or tears. The film would've been better if Erich Wolfgang Korngold or Max Steiner offered their composing talents to the film and used a subtler score instead. Also, too many character situations make the story a bit confusing in places. One minor quibble is that Ann Sheridan, even after her character is raped off-screen by a German soldier, always looks glamorous no matter what happens. But despite these drawbacks, you'll be rewarded after the film is over.

All in all, this is a very entertaining Hollywood propaganda film that still holds up well today despite the melodramatic elements and bad timing of the film's release. However, the story of a fictional Norwegian town and how its citizens respond to the evil Nazi conquerors makes a very powerful, if a bit far-fetched, film concerning themes of fighting against oppression and loyalty towards one's country.


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