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The Edge of the World (1937)

Passed | | Drama, History, Romance | 9 September 1938 (USA)
A way of life is dying on an Outer Hebridean island fishing port, but some of the inhabitants resist evacuating to the mainland.

Director:

Michael Powell

Writer:

Michael Powell (story)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Laurie ... The Manson Family: Peter
Belle Chrystall ... The Manson Family: Ruth, His Daughter
Eric Berry Eric Berry ... The Manson Family: Robbie, Her Brother
Kitty Kirwan Kitty Kirwan ... The Manson Family: Jean, Their Grandmother
Finlay Currie ... The Gray Family: James
Niall MacGinnis ... The Gray Family: Andrew, His Son (as Niall Macginnis)
Grant Sutherland Grant Sutherland ... The Catechist
Campbell Robson Campbell Robson ... The Laird
George Summers George Summers ... The Skipper
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Storyline

A trio wanders the cliffs of an Outer Hebridean island and encounters a gravestone at the edge of a precipice; it reads, "Peter Manson ... gone over." One man in the trio knows the story of the gravestone and tells it to the others... It is ten years earlier, and the way of life on the island is dying; steam trawlers from the mainland threaten its survival as a fishing port. Peter Manson, one of the community's leaders, resists evacuating to the mainland, though his son Robbie is about to leave the island himself. Meanwhile, Robbie's twin sister plans to marry his best friend, Andrew Gray. Andrew and Robbie argue over evacuation and decide to settle the matter by racing to the top of a cliff. Ruth is terrified: she may lose them both. The race ends in tragedy, which tears apart the families of Manson and Gray. Times passes and Ruth reveals she is pregnant with an illegitimate child. This promises to bring the two families back together, but not before desperation hits the islanders. ... Written by sspurli

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A l'angle du monde See more »

Filming Locations:

Foula, Shetland, Scotland, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£20,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Joe Rock Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1940 re-issue) | (1990 NFA-restoration) | (Milestone print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Marconi's Visatone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Almost four hours of film was shot on the island and was edited down to just 80 minutes by Derek N. Twist. See more »

Goofs

In the sequence in which Ruth runs down and uphill then to the shore, she is first barefoot, then wearing shoes, then barefoot again. See more »

Quotes

The Gray Family: Andrew, His Son: Do you think I don't care about Robbie? Do you think I'd forget that he was your twin brother and my best friend?
See more »

Crazy Credits

[before opening credits] The slow shadow of Death is falling on the outer isles of Scotland. [scrolls up] This is the story of one of them -- and all of them. When the Roman Fleet first sailed round Britain they saw from the Orkneys a distant island, like a blue haze across a hundred miles of sea. They called it - "ULTIMA THULE" [main title] THE EDGE OF THE WORLD See more »

Connections

Featured in Return to the Edge of the World (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Psalm 23
(uncredited)
Composer unknown
Words from the biblical 23rd psalm
Sung a cappella by the congregation in church
See more »

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User Reviews

Powerful Powell
2 July 2006 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

A new version was reportedly released in 1978 ,featuring a color sequence where the director and the actors-survivors went on a pilgrimage to Foula.It was called "return to the edge of the world" .This is not the version I saw and it seems that none of the other users could see it either.It's really a pity.

Powell is my favorite English director.He's the only one who 's got a sense of mystery.His pictures are art,poetry in motion.He films the sea (a harsh mistress) and the desolate landscapes in a dazzling way.His influence on David Lean ("Ryan's daughter") is obvious.But I'm almost sure old wave French Jean Delannoy (not meant pejoratively) had this movie in mind when he made his own "Dieu a Besoin des Hommes" (a story in a remote Breton island ).And the almost documentary side of the movie predates Robert Bresson's asceticism.

Some called it melodramatic:on the contrary,Powell avoids its clichés; the unmarried mother became generally an outcast,most of all the French Marcel Pagnol films revolved around this subject.But Ruth's child is a new hope for the inhabitants.The sequence when they dance to a violin tune is the one really happy moment in the whole film.

The times are changing.The way of life their fathers used to know is coming to an end.Powell's movie gains an universal meaning :the situation he depicted happened (and is still happening) here there and everywhere.


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