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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
Ned Moore assaults the priest, Father Thomas Roth, in the rectory and as the priest falls to the floor, his Roman collar falls open and hangs loose. He stands up to continue the fight with his collar fully intact. See more »
One of the bleakest, most pessimistic films of the noir cycle
When Edge of Doom was first released, audiences turned away from it with the coldest of shoulders. It was yanked out of circulation so that a pair of bookends could be shot, in which the story becomes a kind of parable told by a wise old rector (Dana Andrews) to a younger priest undergoing a pastoral crisis. The filmmakers shouldn't have bothered: Edge of Doom remains one of the bleakest, least comforting offerings of the entire noir cycle (no mean feat), and probably the most irreligious movie ever made in America.
When Farley Granger's devout but tubercular mother dies, it precipitates a rampage against everything that makes up the prison of his life: his ugly urban poverty; his penny-pinching employer who offers promises rather than a raise; the Church, which once refused burial to his father, a suicide, and is now refusing his mother the "big" funeral he thinks he owes her; the smarmy, sanctimonious undertaker. Long story short, he ends up murdering a crusty, hell-and-brimstone priest. The police nab him for a robbery he didn't commit but end up with a different murder suspect. But compassionate pastor Dana Andrews (now in flashback) suspects the truth.... There's something almost endearingly Old Left about the savagery of the indictment leveled against society's Big Guns: Church, police and capitalism. The slum where Granger lived with his mother makes Ralph and Alice Kramden's Chauncey Street digs in Brooklyn look cozily inviting (Adele Jergens, as the slatternly wife of a neighbor, observes, "Smart people don't live here"); outside, the nighttown is noir at its most exhilaratingly creepy. It's easy to see why the public, on the cusp of the fabulous fifties, shunned this movie, whose unprettiness is uncompromised. But it's as succinct a summing up of the noir vision as anything in the canon.
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