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A poor and alienated young man (Farley Granger) who is driven to murder when a priest refuses to give is deceased mother an expensive funeral. The film explores the crippling poverty that has prevented the youth from marrying or providing his mother with enough comforts, and has led to his crime. Dana Andrews plays the compassionate assistant of the slain priest who brings about the tormented killer's repentance. Written by
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It doesn't take much to poison a young man's soul.
Edge of Doom is directed by Mark Robson and adapted to screenplay by Philip Yordan from the novel written by Leo Brady. It stars Dana Andrews, Farley Granger, Joan Evans, Robert Keith, Paul Stewart, Mala Powers and Adele Jergens. Music is by Hugo Friedhofer and cinematography by Harry Stradling.
Give evil a root and it will grow and thrive.
Relentlessly grim in thematics and mounted in classic film noir style by Robson and Stradling, if it were not for the heavy religio angle then we would be talking about one of film noir's highlights. Bookended by pious pontifications as Dana Andrews' priest offers his wisdom to a new understudy, everything in between is tinged by a bleakness as Granger's poverty stricken young man desperately tries to arrange a "big" funeral for his just deceased mother.
With a mother fixation firmly planted on his shoulders, Martin Lynn trawls through the oppressive and unforgiving city looking for help but finding none. His employer, the church, nobody, so when his temper finally snaps he also has to contend with guilt and the police circling him like a straight-jacket. All the while Father Roth is hanging around to show the good side of the church, even turning into the punching preacher at one point. But can he grant salvation to a frantic Martin Lynn as his soul begins to fracture?
Samuel Goldwyn effectively stopped backing the picture and Granger pretty much disowned it, unsurprisingly it flopped at the box office and has sort of languished in noir purgatory ever since. Shifting too much of the focus onto Father Roth really hurts the film, where Goldwyn had Robson do a re-edit and hired Ben Hecht to spruce up the religious theme. There's also a problem with Granger over acting at times, while Andrews is a touch miscast in a role tailor made for Pat O'Brien. Though the support players, particularly Keith and Stewart, more than compensate.
There's enough bite in the narrative to do justice to the excellent visuals, a cynicism that haunts the shadows of this seamy side of the city, but this really should have, and could have, been so much better. 7/10
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