The Razor's Edge Reviews
He travels through Paris & finally ends up in India where he has an inevitable encounter with god.
Filled with much depth & insight this isn't your typical hollywood romance & a few scenes are quite powerful & profound.
The Razor's Edge is the story about a returning World War I veteran's quest for spiritual meaning in his life. Author W. Somerset Maugham wrote this during the 30s and his themes then found a good audience in 1946. He appears in the movie, played by Herbert Marshall, and it is his eyes through which we see the action unfold.
It starts at a party in the Midwest at the beginning of the Roaring 20s. All the principal characters are introduced there including Larry Darrell, played by Power, who wants to postpone his engagement to Gene Tierney. Power explains about his lack of spiritual fulfillment and his desire to do some global soul searching. Tierney's not happy, but she thinks all he wants to do is sow some wild oats and she reluctantly acquiesces.
A year later she's in Paris and she finds Ty living on the fringe and she realizes he was serious. Now Tierney is hopping mad so she marries steady and reliable John Payne. Now the plot unfolds.
As I've said in other reviews of his films Power was either the straight arrow hero or a hero/heel type. He's a straight arrow in this one as noble as you can get without crossing over into Dudley DooRightism.
Gene Tierney had essayed bitchiness in Leave Her to Heaven and she refines it to a high art here. Even though she's married to Payne, she still has a yen for Ty and her machinations are what drives the rest of the story.
John Payne, I have always been convinced was brought to 20th Century Fox as a singing Tyrone Power for musicals. So it is interesting to see them together. It is unfortunate that Payne wasn't given a better role because his part as Tierney's husband who loses his fortune in the Stock Market Crash wasn't better written. Payne proved on a lot of occasions he was a capable enough actor to handle more complex parts.
Clifton Webb plays fussy Uncle Elliott Templeton and got an Oscar Nomination, losing to Harold Russell in the Best Years of Our Lives. Webb was the closest thing for years to an out gay actor and a lot of his roles reflect that part of him, like this one. My favorite scene is after Ty Power goes to India and in that Shangri La like lamasery feels he has been made spiritually aware, with the symphonic crescendos rising, the action cuts away to a Paris tailor shop where Clifton Webb is complaining that the tassel on his robe doesn't sway, but that it bobbles.
Anne Baxter won a Best Supporting Actress Award for a playing a friend of Tierney's in the mid west. Baxter is a happy girl, marrying a young man she's deeply in love with. Her husband and baby are killed in an automobile crash. Baxter's study of physical and moral decline and degradation is some of her best work, maybe even better than Eve Harrington in All About Eve.
The story is a bit dated now, but it's still a fine film and one that shows Tyrone Power capable of far more than swashbuckling.
The literate and dramatic script gives a thorough psychological insight into all the character's minds. Tyrone Power plays Larry Darrell, the main character, who is about to begin a long and demanding search for the true meaning of life. Gene Tierney is his fianc√ (C)e Isabel Bradley, a girl who tries to trap him into a marriage she wants, but ultimately realizes that she won't be able to. Clifton Webb is Elliott Templeton, a shallow, pompous, and supercilious uncle who ‚" surprisingly so ‚" turns out to be a rather likable and reliable old gentleman.
Larry goes to France and then to India, discovering many new facts about life and fulfilling his destiny as the passionate truth-seeker. In the meantime, Isabel marries Gray Maturin (John Payne), a man who's always been in love with her. Along with her uncle and a few relatives they move to a classy palace located in France and stay there until the heavy depression hits them really hard.
The turning point of the film comes when a long-time family friend Sophie MacDonald (devastating performance by Anne Baxter) loses her husband and child in a car crash and starts drinking in order to forget about this horrible accident. After a while, all the characters meet up in France at the most unexpected time. Though married, Isabel is still fully in love with Larry. He, on the other hand, decides to help poor Sophie and proposes to her instead. Thing turn ugly, as Isabel tries to cause Sophie's final fall into alcoholism and dejection, just to get Larry only for herself. As the obsessive behavior progresses, she realizes that many people, even those that she truly cared about, desert her.
Starting in the period ingeniously named the roaring 20's and following up to the difficult times of the Great Depression, the film exhibits ‚" in an utterly realistic manner ‚" how a social and economic situation in the USA shaped the way people corresponded to one another. Pretentious, shallow and greedy members of the aristocracy cared only about their own, mostly material, needs. However, after the horrible stock market crash in 1929 everything suddenly changed. It's perfectly exemplified in the way Isabel Bradley's closest relatives handled the loss of money, and how it actually lead up to the beginning of the respected family's end.
Undoubtedly, Tyrone Power's performance is the greatest force of this picture. Avoiding many clich√ (C)s, he presents a man who is as confused as he is curious about life in general. Handsome and charismatic, it's not hard to see why Gene Tierney was so obsessed with his persona. Her awe-inspiring portrayal of a woman who can't distinguish between what's good and what's bad is as convincing as it is heartbreaking.
Exploring both an ill-fated love affair and a promising spiritual journey, the film is a 144-minute ode to effective and convincing filmmaking. Enhanced by marvelous supporting performances, The Razor's Edge cuts deep and uncovers a deeply sorrowful intrigue, promising neither second chances nor happy endings.
A young man that doesn't seem to fit into society's expectations decides to expand his perspective by traveling to Paris and Europe and seeking enlightenment. Initially, his fiancťe tries to talk him out of it, but her family convinces her otherwise and they split. The woman marries another, has children, and then her husband dies. She expects when she finds the enlightened young man they will naturally get back together...but things won't be as easy as she hopes.
"If I ever acquire wisdom I'm sure I'll be wise enough to know what to do with it."
Edmund Goulding, director of Of Human Bondage, Claudia, Nightmare Alley, Riptide, Grand Hotel, and Paris, delivers Razor's Edge. The storyline for this movie was excellent and well paced. The characters are brilliantly developed and well portrayed by the cast. The cast delivers outstanding performances and includes Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, and Clifton Webb.
"You sound like a very religious man that doesn't believe in god."
I am a huge Tyrone Power fan and came across this picture while flicking through the channels. I adored every minute of this movie and found the main character unpredictable and fascinating. The entire movie is up and down emotionally and it ends the only way it could. I was thoroughly impressed by this film and story and strongly recommend seeing this gem.
"Goodness is the greatest force in the world and he's got it."