7.4/10
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86 user 29 critic

The Razor's Edge (1946)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 25 December 1946 (USA)
An adventuresome young man goes off to find himself and loses his socialite fiancée in the process. But when he returns 10 years later, she will stop at nothing to get him back, even though she is already married.

Director:

Edmund Goulding

Writers:

Lamar Trotti (screen play), W. Somerset Maugham (from the novel by)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Stars: Tyrone Power, Madeleine Carroll, Freddie Bartholomew
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tyrone Power ... Larry Darrell
Gene Tierney ... Isabel Bradley
John Payne ... Gray Maturin
Anne Baxter ... Sophie MacDonald
Clifton Webb ... Elliott Templeton
Herbert Marshall ... W. Somerset Maugham
Lucile Watson ... Louisa Bradley
Frank Latimore ... Bob MacDonald
Elsa Lanchester ... Miss Keith
Fritz Kortner ... Kosti
John Wengraf ... Joseph - Butler
Cecil Humphreys Cecil Humphreys ... Holy Man
Harry Pilcer ... Specialty Dancer
Cobina Wright Sr. Cobina Wright Sr. ... Princess Novemali
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Storyline

Well-to-do Chicagoan, Larry Darrell, breaks off his engagement to Isabel and travels the world seeking enlightenment, eventually finding his guru India. Isabel marries Gray, and following the crash of 1929, is invited to live in Paris with her rich, social climbing, Uncle Elliot. During a sojurn there, Larry, having attained his goal, is reunited with Isabel. While slumming one night Larry, Isabel and company are shocked to discover Sophie, a friend from Chicago. Having lost her husband and child in a tragic accident, Sophie is living the low-life with the help of drugs and an abusive brute. Larry tries to rehabilitate her, but his efforts are sabotaged by Isabel who tries in vain to reignite Larry's interest in herself. Written by Richard Blinkal <phelam@netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Theirs was a love hunger no earthly love could satisfy! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

25 December 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge See more »

Filming Locations:

Denver, Colorado, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Although Fox did not use W. Somerset Maugham's screen adaptation of his own novel, it felt it owed the author something. George Cukor suggested giving him a fine modern painting, which the director later recalled was a Matisse. See more »

Goofs

When Tyrone Power is getting the invitation from Elsa Lancaster, the lighting from the front right casts the actors' shadows on the wall as they walk to the window. As Tyrone Power exits through the window, the shadow of a woman's head appears on the wall. See more »

Quotes

Isabel Bradley: Larry, how can you bear to sit here in a backwash, when America is living through the most glorious adventure the world has ever known? You've been away a year now, a whole year out of your life. You just can't go on loafing for ever! Or, can you?
Larry Darrell: It's possible.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the screenplay credits are shown, a curious symbol appears near W. Somerset Maugham's name. It's a symbol meant to ward off the evil eye, and it more often than not appeared on the covers of many of Maugham's novels. See more »

Connections

Referenced in It's a Grand Old Nag (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

M'aime ta pomme
(uncredited)
Music by Edmund Goulding
Lyrics by Jacques Surmagne
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant script. Strong acting. Sensational Gene Tierney
7 March 2002 | by pzanardoSee all my reviews

"The razor's edge" has outstanding merits and, unfortunately, remarkable defects. Balancing the ones and the others, it stands as a sound, beautiful instance of classic movie.

The story, based on Somerset Maugham's novel, is certainly original, although some twists of the plot are hardly believable, others are naive and predictable. The spiritual quest by Larry (Tyrone Power) is an interesting theme. However, his yearning for living among workers and poor people is far-fetched, and fails to be touching. The director's job is just adequate. The cardboard backdrops are awful! The scenes placed in the fake Himalaya are laughable. The representation of French people is inaccurate and too picturesque. By the way, French people NEVER spoke a foreign language in those years (in truth, not much has changed nowadays).

Fortunately enough, the merits of the movie overwhelm the flaws. The script is brilliant. A thorough psychological study of the characters is made, through lines at times dramatic, at times permeated with typical English sharp wit. A great acting is a major strength of the film. The whole cast, minor roles included, makes an excellent job. Anne Baxter deserved to win the Oscar for the best supporting actress. Gene Tierney is fantastic: her Isabel, fully believable and realistic, is the most interesting character of the movie.

Gene's acting is willingly understated, but extremely subtle and accurate. Look at the glances she flashes to the drunk Sophie (Anne Baxter) at the tavern. Look at Isabel's expression when Sophie vulgarly sits down on the table, turning her back to Isabel and flirting with Larry. We feel that a mortal hate is soaring. The clash between Isabel and Sophie is a great scene. Baxter beautifully shows Sophie's tragic weakness, But Gene's icy attitude is even more effective. After all, let's take Isabel's point of view: we realize that she's perfectly right. It's true that Sophie is a hopeless drunkard. It's true that Larry wants to marry her just as an act of pity. And Isabel fights for her love. Why shouldn't she?

Yes, Isabel is selfish, spoiled, even ruthless... and so? For all his generosity, sense of duty and so on, Larry neglected Isabel just to avoid such an enormous self-sacrifice as to take a job! And then Isabel shouts "Love me, Larry, love me!" Come on, Larry! How on the earth can you resist to such an appeal? Why aren't we audience allowed to replace you, undeservedly over-lucky fellow? Alas! Larry is "completely out of mind", as Isabel puts it. By the way, Larry's incoherences, in a world of people ever following their own way (snobbery for Elliott, comfortable wealthy life for Isabel, poised literature for Maugham, debauchery for Sophie), by no means are a flaw of the movie. They rather make a fine artistic effect, even improving the realism of the story.

And how I like the scene when Herbert Marshall as Maugham makes a detailed description of Isabel's perfect beauty, loveliness, grace (Gene-Isabel staring at him with a half-dreaming, half-mocking smile). That's a much appreciated gift for all us devoted fans of Gene Tierney.

Yes, I don't hide the defects of "The razor's edge". But it is certainly entertaining, interesting, even profound at several moments. A beautiful film.


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