Sunday, August 2, 2015

Edge Of Doom (1950) - Catholic Noir

 (SLWB on: February 09, 2012, 07:27:00 PM »)
Director: Mark Robson, Stars: Dana Andrews, Farley Granger, Paul Stewart, Robert Kieth, and Joan Evans. 

We had an Evangelical Noir with the late noir The Seventh Commandment (1961) twelve years prior to that Red Light (1949) the next year's Edge Of Doom covered the Catholic angle of the small sub genre the "Religious Noirs" It's aLso what I like to call a Bare Light Bulb Noir, nothing indicates fleabag flophouse better that bare lightbulbs on drop cords with a pull string and twin sockets, one for the bulb the other for whatever appliance you wanted to plug in. This film has an abbondanza. 

Can't review this any better than this on IMDb:

One of the bleakest, most pessimistic films of the noir cycle, 26 October 2001

Author: bmacv from Western New York

When Edge of Doom was first released, audiences turned away from it with the coldest of shoulders. It was yanked out of circulation so that a pair of bookends could be shot, in which the story becomes a kind of parable told by a wise old rector (Dana Andrews) to a younger priest undergoing a pastoral crisis. The filmmakers shouldn't have bothered: Edge of Doom remains one of the bleakest, least comforting offerings of the entire noir cycle (no mean feat), and probably the most irreligious movie ever made in America.

When Farley Granger's devout but tubercular mother dies, it precipitates a rampage against everything that makes up the prison of his life: his ugly urban poverty; his penny-pinching employer who offers promises rather than a raise; the Church, which once refused burial to his father, a suicide, and is now refusing his mother the "big" funeral he thinks he owes her; the smarmy, sanctimonious undertaker. Long story short, he ends up murdering a crusty, hell-and-brimstone priest. The police nab him for a robbery he didn't commit but end up with a different murder suspect. But compassionate pastor Dana Andrews (now in flashback) suspects the truth.... There's something almost endearingly Old Left about the savagery of the indictment leveled against society's Big Guns: Church, police and capitalism. The slum where Granger lived with his mother makes Ralph and Alice Kramden's Chauncey Street digs in Brooklyn look cozily inviting (Adele Jergens, as the slatternly wife of a neighbor, observes, "Smart people don't live here"); outside, the nighttown is noir at its most exhilaratingly creepy. It's easy to see why the public, on the cusp of the fabulous fifties, shunned this movie, whose unprettiness is uncompromised. But it's as succinct a summing up of the noir vision as anything in the canon. 

I'll add Paul Stewart's "Mr. Craig" is an extremely smarmy petty criminal, imparting words of street smart wisdom to Martin Lynn (Granger).

Mr. Craig: Nobody lends you money, a kid like you: driving a truck, delivering flowers, making thirty bucks a week. You’re a bad risk. Money, money! That’s all that counts in this rat race. If you got it they’ll bury you like a queen. If you ain’t they’ll pack her in a box and shove her in a hole in the ground. I feel for you Martin, and for what your mother went through in this world. She oughta go out in style, like a somebody; the world owes it to her. It’s a rich world, but it hates to give — you gotta take! Somewhere out there someone owes you something. All you gotta do is have the nerve to collect.

 With seemingly the world against him Martin is on the fast track to Noirsville. 

The film was directed by Mark Robson. the writers were Leo Brady (novel), Philip Yordan screenplay. The cinematography was by Harry Stradling Sr., Tension (1949), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Angel Face (1953), Face in the Crowd (1957). The music was by Hugo Friedhofer.

The film stars Stars: Dana Andrews as Father Thomas Roth, Farley Granger as Martin Lynn, 
Joan Evans as Rita Conroy, Martin's girlfriend, Robert Keith as Lieutenant Mandel, Paul Stewart as Craig.

Mala Powers as Julie, Adele Jergens as Irene, Craig's girlfriend, John Ridgely as 1st Detective, Douglas Fowley as 2nd Detective, Harold Mabel Paige as Mrs. Pearson, Ellen Corby as Mrs. Jeanette Moore. Robert Karnes as George, a Priest narrated to.

 With seemingly the world against him Martin is on the fast track to Noirsville. 


Father George (Karnes) Father Roth (Andrews)

Martin Lynn (Granger)
Mrs. Lally (Jean Inness)

Mrs. Lynn (Frances Morris) and Martin

Mr. Craig (Stewart)

Irene (Adele Jergens) 

Lieutenant Mandel (Robert Keith) and Father Roth

Edge of Doom the novel took place in New York City, but the film version definitely takes place in Noirsville, it's part Hollywood back lot with what looks in one short shot like an "el." But the location shots are definitely downtown L.A. you can tell by the street lights.


L.A. Gasometers and Union Station

A shot definitely showing tracks with an el train moving briefly rt. to lt.

The visuals are great, especially the set design of the tenement apartment building where the Lynn's live. Again, nothing spells sleazy quite like dim bare light bulbs hanging from long drop cords, and this film has them is spades. Beware, it's a bit preachy 8/10

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