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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

EDGE OF DOOM (1950)

Doomed indeed. Frances Howard Goldwyn, the very Catholic wife of indie producer Samuel Goldwyn, initiated this project, a sort of Catholic Guilt Noir about a troubled young man (Farley Granger) with priestly issues to settle and a mother just past Last Rites. For some inexplicable reason, his tale of woe & semi-redemption is fodder for a flashback/pep-talk, along with a calming cup of tea, from parish priest Dana Andrews (in narcoleptic mode) to his questioning novice. It all turns on the murder of a worn out priest (with his own desk crucifix!); the robbery of a movie theater cash box; a Plain Jane girlfriend tired of waiting; and a roomful of flowers for a first-class funeral service. Credit helmer Mark Robson & cinematographer Harry Stradling for giving it a glistening inner-city tenement menace so dark & atmospheric it cloaks much of the missing narrative logic; so the pic is unexpectedly watchable in spite of its faults. According to Granger’s excellent auto-bio (INCLUDE ME OUT), there were months of reedits, reshoots, even a post-release revamp; though what got added/altered is a mystery. (Maybe just that risible ‘let’s have another cup of tea’ tag line.)

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Hitchcock’s films are brimming with Catholic Guilt, usually served on the side, but as a main course in the underrated I CONFESS/’53.

READ ALL ABOUT IT: As mentioned above, Farley Granger’s INCLUDE ME OUT.

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