It's two years after the Nazi's invasion of Norway, and in a small fishing village that is headquarters to one hundred fifty German soldiers, the eight hundred locals are stewing, waiting for a supply of arms so they can revolt. Leaders include Karen Stensgard (Ann Sheridan), whose father, Dr. Martin Stensgard (Walter Huston), is not all that sure that an open revolt will accomplish much, and whose brother has previously proven to be disloyal to Norway, and Gunnar Brogge (Errol Flynn), a fisherman who was planning to sail to England to fight, but changed his mind on hearing of English arms being delivered. Although the Nazi's cruelty is evident, the townspeople bide their time, until one incident causes the stewpot to boil over.Written by
Ron Kerrigan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Production took thirty days more than was scheduled. See more »
When the doctor is treating a wounded villager, Flynn's character is holding a lantern for lighting. The lantern is a U.S. railroad lantern. See more »
[checks the time on his watch while flying patrol rounds over coastal Norway]
It's 4 o'clock.
[looks off and down to his left]
We are over Trollness again.
[yawns indifferently and initially continues whistling as his co-pilot logs a new journal entry for the current day, Oct 28th 1942]
Look, look! That flag...
That's not ours.
It's Norwegian. Let's go down.
[descends the plane down toward the village while radioing to a Nazi base]
Our garrison headquarters is flying a Norwegian flag... ...
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A Mighty Fortress is Our God (Ein' Feste Burg)
Traditional German hymn
Lyrics by Martin Luther (1535)
English translation by Frederick H. Hedge (1853)
Played and sung offscreen by an unidentified chorus during the opening credits, in the church,
and at the end
Variations in the score throughout See more »
A Norwegian fishing village faces down the Nazis
"The Edge of Darkness" is a 1943 propaganda film about a Norwegian fishing village rising up to fight the Nazis. However, this movie is a cut above other propaganda movies. The cast is excellent, top-notch all the way: Errol Flynn, Ann Sheridan, Walter Huston, Ruth Gordon, John Beal, Helmut Dantine, Judith Anderson and Morris Carnovsky. Sometimes on the IMDb message board, a poster will ask for opinions on the best ensemble cast ever assembled. This one deserves a mention. It's probably not at the top of everyone's list because it was released while Errol Flynn was fighting statutory rape charges, which was a distraction to audiences, certainly, and also because it followed "Casablanca."
Norway was dragged into the World War II conflict because Hitler was very concerned about protecting the Norwegian shoreline so that the Russians could not receive supplies if they joined the Allies. In the story, the village is being occupied by the Nazis, who are taking the people's shipments of basic necessities and oppressing the entire town by their very presence - curfews, patrols, and the commandeering of the local hotel as their base. Flynn plays the head of the resistance, a brave fisherman named Gunnar Brogge. He is joined in the fight byand by other villagers and by the woman he loves, Karen Stensgard (Sheridan). Her father (Huston) is a doctor who, like many others, has been content not to make waves; his wife (Gordon) longs for the days before the war when the family was together. Karen, however, has no such wish - her brother, Johann (John Beal) is a weakling who collaborated with the Nazis in Oslo. Hearing that he's returning home, she warns the resistance group that he could cause problems. Meanwhile, the group waits to receive a shipment of arms so that they can fight effectively.
The director, Lewis Milestone, has created an atmosphere where one feels the oppression, fear and frustration of these simple people. There are powerful scenes that demonstrate the viciousness of the Nazis, led by Helmut Dantine. One scene is off-camera - the rape of Karen. As another poster here commented, she of course looks fabulous when she returns to the group - some dirt smudges and her beautiful hair falling around her face. That is really the one false note in this story of great bravery.
The entire cast is terrific, led by Flynn, who demonstrates quiet strength and determination as Gunnar. This is really an ensemble piece, however, and Flynn and Sheridan do not overwhelm the production. Walter Huston again demonstrates his brilliant acting skills as a man trying to stick it out without having a high profile, and Gordon is sympathetic as his wife, who yearns for the family moments that are now gone. All of the roles, including the smaller ones, are essayed beautifully.
I am sure that this film was very inspirational when first seen, particularly the radio message from Roosevelt at the end of the movie. "Edge of Darkness" is a compelling story about the effect of the war and occupation on the average person.
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