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 »
My dad wrote the book that EOD is based on. It is interesting to me that a film that was declared a resounding failure still elicits some interesting commentary. The view that it is possibly the most depressing noir-type film around sounds like a huge compliment to me, given what noir is always striving to do, and indeed it IS a dark film (which makes the above comment about the Stradling cinematography kind of puzzling). Also, the IMDb trivia statement that the film has never been shown on TV can't possibly be true, since I remember seeing it on TV when I was a teen.
The novel Edge of Doom used a Crime and Punishment narrative style to tell a contemporary murder story revolving around poverty in a large American citythe template was Philadelphiaand to raise issues about how devotion to church alone can not solve the ills of a modern society. The subject matter is indeed bleak, and indeed ahead of its time. It's certainly a brooding tale, but the novel as literature was considered significant in its day. How Goldwyn came to produce it as a film is a story unto itself, but there can be no doubting that if the film's creative team had stuck to their noir-ish guns, and focused more artfully on the message, it would have been a much better film, not to mention a film that might've actually raised noir above its melodramatic station. (Noir is great, of course, and it's fun to view its style, but a lot of the entries in the genre are tough to watch nowadays, simply because the dialogue is so corny.) Bookending the movie with the corny priest scenes ruined the film's chance to actually probe the poverty theme with seriousness. By soft-pedaling its style, Mark Robson and Philip Yordan failed to capture what was important about the novel. Here was yet another example of Hollywood so afraid of box-office impact that they made a difficult situation worse, when what they might've had was a critically well-received work that would have also failed at the box office but at least might've been counted as art.
I can't say I agree with the above post that hails the work of Farley Granger. Granger has been publicly vitriolic about the movie, but in my view he did nothing to help it. He's wooden and self-conscious, and, let's face it, he was never a good actor even when Hitchcock directed him. However, I am also open to the possibility that, had Robson had any conceptual idea about how to best tell this tale, Granger might've made for an interesting screen subject. The Yordan screenplay tweaks trivialized the message and shortchanged the potential for a visual style. Even then, if Robson had brought a creative approach to things, even the screenplay issues might've been overcome.
EOD the film remains a historical curiosity, but it's mostly an example of what happens when unsympathetic, apparently clueless, filmmakers are hired to tackle a subject of seriousness, which they can only reduce to cinematic hackwork. It could have been, it SHOULD have been, a much better movie.
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