Thursday, August 1, 2013

1943 - EDGE OF DARKNESS, very poor World War 2 propaganda film

Class "A" talent in a very bad World War 2 film.  Set in Norway, this film is about the Norwegian resistance in a small town during Nazi occupation.  The film was extremely well directed by Lewis Milestone.  Robert Rossen, one of Hollywood's best writers and future director wrote the screenplay.  Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan two of Warners top stars have the leads and the supporting cast has very good actors like Walter Huston, Judith Anderson and Ruth Gordon.  With all of the talent involved this film is a complete mess.  

Probably the biggest offender is the horrible jingoistic script from Robert Rossen.  The Nazi's are a complete bunch of caricatures, no evil deed is too little for this bunch.  The resistance fighters mouth one freedom fighter cliche after another.  At one point Ann Sheridan is raped by a particularly nasty Nazi and instead of being traumatized by this event she finds time to make a speech about the Norwegian resistance movement.

Edge of Darkness has some impressive camera work and some of Milestone's skillful tracking shots.  The final battle sequence is exciting and extremely well done but can't redeem all of the jingoistic speeches from Errol Flynn, Walter Huston and Ann Sheridan.  Too bad, because they all give pretty good performances.

If you are looking for a well made World War 2 propaganda check out Howard Hawk's Air Force instead.

119 minutes.

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