Film & Water #73 – The Razor’s Edge


Episode 73: THE RAZOR'S EDGE

Rob welcomes writer Brian Schirmer to talk about Brian's favorite film of all time, 1946's THE RAZOR'S EDGE, based on the novel (Rob's favorite book) by W. Somerset Maugham, starring Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, and Herbert Marshall.

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5 responses to “Film & Water #73 – The Razor’s Edge

  1. I was interested to see what this was about since I’ve heard you mention it was you favorite book several times, Rob. It does sound interesting. I’m going to keep an eye on TCM, because I’m sure it will show up at some point.

    I remember reading several accounts that Tyrone Power returned from WWII a changed man, both in his demeanor and his appearance. His fresh-faced handsomeness was slightly marred by a weary look from then on. Seems to fit the subject matter well.

    Nice discussion!


    1. Oh, and my geek brain must point out that Anne Baxter was one of the few actors who appeared as two separate characters on the 60s Batman TV series. She was also escape artist Zelda the Great in the first season.


  2. I’ve seen this movie a couple of times and each time I ache a little more.

    I like how Power doesn’t overly moralize or pontificate about his approach to life. And yet you understand his choices completely. As the old rubric says, show me don’t tell me. If remade now, there would be long speeches and angelic lighting and it would suck.

    I cry at Baxter’s character every time. You see here alone in that sitting room, fighting the urge to drink and losing her resolve. It is just sad.

    And I cringe at Gene Tierney, who I simply adore as an actress. She is like a snake with beautiful scales in this movie, gorgeous to look at but deadly. Her conniving that leads to Baxter’s death is just chilling. She wants everything and simply thinks she deserves everything. She let’s me down every time I watch this.

    And lastly, Clifton Webb is such an oily, obnoxious fop. Between this and Laura, he is defined in my mind. No matter what role he is in, I see him as this douche bag.

    Thanks for covering.

  3. Nice job, Rob and Brian. I finally watched the film today and really liked it, I can’t believe just how much of the story they actually kept. I really expected Maugham to be dropped, but there he is, very nicely cast and realised.

    As for Suzanne, she’s such a rich character in the book that on the one hand it’s a shame she’s not there; on the other, yep, she’s really not needed for the film narrative… wasn’t her narrative originally a short story, that Maugham then wove into this novel. Am I misrembering?

    For a second, I thought she WAS going to show up in the movie; when Larry takes (booooo!) Isobel up to his Paris room, a woman looks up the stairs, apparently interested. That’ll be Suzanne, thought I, waiting to get to know Larry. She’s putting a hat on, and seems to say ‘Ca va’… and never shows up again. Why does she get a line, was something cut?

    Anj, the film tries, but doesn’t give the best account of Elliott, he’s really not a terrible person. The book’s portrait is much kinder.

  4. Oh, and as for what Maugham might have come up with for a sequel – Larry goes to the US but instead of driving a taxi or opening a garage, hooks up with a carnival, where his oriental hypnotic skills eventually come in handy…

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