The Masters  
The Powell & Pressburger Pages

Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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Original review at TVGuide

TV Guide review

The Edge of the World (1937)

This well-done Robert Flaherty-style quasi-documentary, beautifully photographed on the stark, desolate, rocky island of Foula, in the Shetland chain, off the coast of Scotland, was writer-director Powell's first big success. The film's featured players and its secondary plot are mingled with the real occurrences of the island -- here called Hirta, Nordic for death -- and its fewer than 100 beleaguered inhabitants. The island's economy is dying, its waters are fished out, its peat supplies are nearly gone. Evacuation of the islanders to the mainland is urged by Berry over the opposition of his father, Laurie, and other islanders. Berry falls to his death during a test of courage with his friend, MacGinnis, who is engaged to Berry's sister, Chrystall. The guilt-ridden MacGinnis departs from Hirta, leaving the pregnant Chrystall behind. Many months afterward, he returns to the island, just in time to save the life of his child. By this time, all the islanders have accepted the inevitable; driving their sheep and cows to the waiting boats, they depart. In a final gesture, old Laurie climbs a cliff to get a souvenir, a rare bird's egg. He falls to his death, emulating his son. Marvelous for the islanders' craggy faces and the faces of the island's crags, this is a grim but touching picture. The appropriate choral effects are done by the women of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir. Forty years later, the surviving cast and crew members returned to the island to shoot the documentary Return to the Edge of the World.

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