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 <email@example.com>
The Germans have put Trollness under a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and any Norwegian who violates it is subject to summary execution. But when Dr. Stensgard scours the streets of Trollness for his daughter's rapist, it is night, and he passes dozens of German soldiers, any one of whom should have shot him on sight. 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 »
Lewis Milestone's WWII Masterpiece Still Packs A Big Wallop
Edge Of Darkness is one of the most underrated movies by one of the most underrated directors, Lewis Milestone. This World War Two "propaganda" piece or morale builder rises far above its genre in the hands of the cinematic master best known for his magisterial World War One picture All Quiet On The Western Front. The story of a revolt brewing against Nazi occupiers by the people of a Norwegian fishing village, scripted by Robert Rossen, is reeled out in Milestone's fluid, sensuous cinematic style with spellbinding suspense from beginning to end. Sets are first rate, with the magic of Old Hollywood art transforming the California coast into a misty Scandinavian fjord.
Leading man Errol Flynn turns in perhaps his best job of acting. His dashing image is completely lost in the role of a humble fisherman not entirely confident as the leader of the local Resistance movement. No dashing uniform here, just a pea coat and a plain merchant sailor's cap. And no mustache! Flynn and leading lady Ann Sheridan both turn in the solid, understated performances their roles called for, but it is a superb cast of supporting players that really shines in this one. One of the great charms of this memorable movie is the rich character development amongst the supporting parts. Walter Huston, as the town doctor trying to sit the fence, and Judith Anderson, as a Resistance worker hopelessly in love with a German soldier, are dominating as always. But the show is practically stolen by Roman Bohnen, as a henpecked, middle-aged store keeper with dreams of glory, and the ubiquitous Henry Brandon, as a suave SS officer who may not be all he seems. Helmut Dantine, a refugee Austrian anti-Nazi in real life, plays the German commandant with razor-edge ruthlessness. Likewise outstanding are Ruth Gordon as the doctor's sadly unbalanced wife, Charles Dingle as her Quissling brother, John Beal as her wavering Quissling son, and Nancy Coleman as the commandant's frightened Polish mistress. Monte Blue, Frank Wilcox, Art Bridge, and Morris Carnovsky add their always reliable presences. Thanks to consummate acting skill, Rossen's intelligent script, and Milestone's precise direction, you will come to know these characters as well as your neighbors by the shattering end of this two hour movie.
Franz Waxman's florid score themed on Martin Luther's stirring hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is My God" with snatches from Wagner sweeps the action along to a rousing climax.Sid Hickox is credited for the sublime cinematography, but as I have stated elsewhere (see my review of The General Died At Dawn), Milestone's graphic statement was the same no matter who was behind the camera or in the editing room. Sweeping camera, silky smooth scene changes with creative dissolves, panning mise-en-scene were all the master's trademarks -- much imitated and highly influential on the film noir style that came to dominate pictures of all genres during the 1940's. Notice how at the beginning of the final scene in Edge of Darkness the flapping flag dissolves into a sheet of paper in a typewriter!
Edge of Darkness is a classic of the war/intrigue genre and one of the great movies of all time. First rate Old Hollywood entertainment from the master Lewis Milestone.
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