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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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The Edge of the World
Picture Show, August 14th, 1937

The Edge of the World
Directed by Michael Powell
B.I.F.D. British

This is a film dealing with the struggles of a small community to scratch a living from the almost barren land of an island and the sea that surrounds it. It is a long and terrible struggle against the raging seas which pound almost continually on the island, and the endeavour to cultivate land that is almost all rock. Despite the superhuman efforts of the islanders, the time comes when the majorinety admit defeat and plans are put forward to leave the island for the mainland. These plans are sponsored by Robbie Manson, and opposed by Andrew Gray, both young men. To settle the issue they use a tribal method - a cliff climb - the winner to have his way about the proposed evacuation of the island.

Andrew wins, and Robbie is killed in making the attempt. Peter Manson, the father of Robbie and Ruth, holds Andrew responsible for the death of Robbie, and forbids the approaching marriage of Andrew and his daughter. But the latter has a child by Andrew out of wedlock. The child catches diptheria, and there is a most dramatic scene where Andrew and Ruth take the baby across the stormy waters to the mainland. The evacuation of the island now follows. All leave but Peter Manson, who makes a final climb to get a bird's egg, and loses his life. As is only to be expected, there is more scenery than dialogue in this film, which is as it should be, for the forces of Nature tell the story of the struggle much more eloquently than any words could. It is a fine film, and a praiseworthy effort to depict the story of a hardy race who have to fight against terrible odds for a mere existence. Niall McGinnis (Andrew), Eric Berry (Robbie), John Laurie (Peter Manson and Belle Chrystal (Ruth) act very convincingly.

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