The Razor's Edge (1946)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Film-Noir  |  December 1946 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,716 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 27 critic

An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.



(screen play), (from the novel by), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Lucile Watson ...
Frank Latimore ...
Fritz Kortner ...
Joseph - Butler
Cecil Humphreys ...
Holy Man
Harry Pilcer ...
Specialty Dancer
Cobina Wright Sr. ...
Princess Novemali


Well-to-do Chicagoan, Larry Darrell, breaks off his engagement to Isabel and travels the world seeking enlightenment, eventually finding his guru India. Isabel marries Gray, and following the crash of 1929, is invited to live in Paris with her rich, social climbing, Uncle Elliot. During a sojurn there, Larry, having attained his goal, is reunited with Isabel. While slumming one night Larry, Isabel and company are shocked to discover Sophie, a friend from Chicago. Having lost her husband and child in a tragic accident, Sophie is living the low-life with the help of drugs and an abusive brute. Larry tries to rehabilitate her, but his efforts are sabotaged by Isabel who tries in vain to reignite Larry's interest in herself. Written by Richard Blinkal <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hunger no love . . . woman . . . or wealth could satisfy!


Drama | Film-Noir


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Release Date:

December 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Darryl F. Zanuck wrote thirty-seven additional scenes for the picture. See more »


At 1:17:13, the way Gray holds the coin changes. See more »


Elliott Templeton: The enjoyment of art is the only remaining ecstasy that's neither immoral nor illegal.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the screenplay credits are shown, a curious symbol appears near W. Somerset Maugham's name. It's a symbol meant to ward off the evil eye, and it more often than not appeared on the covers of many of Maugham's novels. See more »


Referenced in It's a Grand Old Nag (1947) See more »


M'aime ta pomme
Music by Edmund Goulding
Lyrics by Jacques Surmagne
See more »

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User Reviews

Ty goes to Shangri-La
2 October 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Darryl Zanuck gave in to Tyrone Power's request for some serious acting roles and not another costume part in his first post World War II film after returning from the Marines. The Razor's Edge is a bit overlong, but Tyrone Power and the rest of the cast is shown to best advantage.

The Razor's Edge is the story about a returning World War I veteran's quest for spiritual meaning in his life. Author W. Somerset Maugham wrote this during the 30s and his themes then found a good audience in 1946. He appears in the movie, played by Herbert Marshall, and it is his eyes through which we see the action unfold.

It starts at a party in the Midwest at the beginning of the Roaring 20s. All the principal characters are introduced there including Larry Darrell, played by Power, who wants to postpone his engagement to Gene Tierney. Power explains about his lack of spiritual fulfillment and his desire to do some global soul searching. Tierney's not happy, but she thinks all he wants to do is sow some wild oats and she reluctantly acquiesces.

A year later she's in Paris and she finds Ty living on the fringe and she realizes he was serious. Now Tierney is hopping mad so she marries steady and reliable John Payne. Now the plot unfolds.

As I've said in other reviews of his films Power was either the straight arrow hero or a hero/heel type. He's a straight arrow in this one as noble as you can get without crossing over into Dudley DooRightism.

Gene Tierney had essayed bitchiness in Leave Her to Heaven and she refines it to a high art here. Even though she's married to Payne, she still has a yen for Ty and her machinations are what drives the rest of the story.

John Payne, I have always been convinced was brought to 20th Century Fox as a singing Tyrone Power for musicals. So it is interesting to see them together. It is unfortunate that Payne wasn't given a better role because his part as Tierney's husband who loses his fortune in the Stock Market Crash wasn't better written. Payne proved on a lot of occasions he was a capable enough actor to handle more complex parts.

Clifton Webb plays fussy Uncle Elliott Templeton and got an Oscar Nomination, losing to Harold Russell in the Best Years of Our Lives. Webb was the closest thing for years to an out gay actor and a lot of his roles reflect that part of him, like this one. My favorite scene is after Ty Power goes to India and in that Shangri La like lamasery feels he has been made spiritually aware, with the symphonic crescendos rising, the action cuts away to a Paris tailor shop where Clifton Webb is complaining that the tassel on his robe doesn't sway, but that it bobbles.

Anne Baxter won a Best Supporting Actress Award for a playing a friend of Tierney's in the mid west. Baxter is a happy girl, marrying a young man she's deeply in love with. Her husband and baby are killed in an automobile crash. Baxter's study of physical and moral decline and degradation is some of her best work, maybe even better than Eve Harrington in All About Eve.

The story is a bit dated now, but it's still a fine film and one that shows Tyrone Power capable of far more than swashbuckling.

41 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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