Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Razor's Edge (1946) Rent 15 and up

What is the meaning of life? Based on a 1944 novel by W. Somerset Maugham,The Razor's Edge is unusual for a Hollywood picture because it deals with a subject that Hollywood rarely ever did, and that was spiritualism and life's meaning. Despite my applauds for finding a film that was trying something different at the time, I'm still kind of puzzled by this film. To help clear my muddled thoughts, let me explain my opinion on this 1946 classic.
    In it, a well-to do Chicago veteran named Larry Darrell (Tyrone Power) is traumatized for his best friend sacrificed himself during a battle in World War One. To clear his muddled thoughts, he decides to go to Paris and India to find enlightenment on the meaning of life. After he learns about goodness, he decides to go visit his old friends in Paris who for the most part aren't doing really well in their lives. For instance, Sophie (Anne Baxter) used to be in a happy marriage until her husband and child gets killed in a car accident. Now, she's a washed-up drunk. Larry decides to save her from her sins. However, his ex-fiancee Isabel (Gene Tierney) is still in love with him. Let me rephrase that. She's obsessed with him. She wants to marry him, and she doesn't understand why he won't focus on society. So to make him realize that he should accept society over life, she decides to sabotage his work with Sophie which ends in tragedy for all of three of them.
       As usual with other golden age pictures, this one is a beautifully produced movie and the acting is really good. Tyrone Power is a genuine good actor with real charm, despite his character having to say awful lines as "The dead have never been deader." The other actors, like Clifton Webb is admirable. Anne Baxter's award winning role easily is the best of the performances for she's a devastating tragic heroine. The audience actually feels sympathy for her when things don't work out for her. She's a character that fate hasn't been kind to, and her performance as a person trying to see that but unable to prevent it is an unforgettable one.
           Gene Tierney's character, though well acted, seems more like a Shakespearean villain rather than a hero. She literally gets Sophie back on the path to doom through psychological warfare and the reason why she does this is she only wants Larry for herself not for anyone else. Did this film turn into a prequel to Leave Her To Heaven? Why would our main leading heroine commit second-degree murder and still be Larry's main affection throughout the entire picture? I know that she doesn't understand his philosophy but that's no excuse for doing despicable things. Ever.
        The main problem that I have with this movie isn't our heroine but the freaking story itself! I just found it boring and uninteresting for our hero is bland, and his quest for meaning didn't resonate with me. That's probably because I haven't experienced his feelings yet , but if you have questions about life, this might be a good choice for you if you don't mind the fact that it's a depressing story with no uplifting moments in it. I'm sorry to say this but I do not like this film at all. But, it's still a good movie but it's not really engaging or interesting to watch.
A tragic heroine who went on to harass Bette Davis.

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