The Razor’s Edge (1946)

  • So…here’s the scoop: Larry Darrell (Tyrone Power) comes back from World War I and can’t figure out life’s purpose or the value of most day-to-day activities & occupations, because of the awful things he’s seen. Everyone acts like he’s some sort of slacker because of this, which is a shit-ton of dumb.
  • “Darling, that’s the horrible part about you – however aggravating you are, one can’t really be angry with you.” — Isabel (Gene Tierney)

Man, do I understand that statement.

  • I will give Isabel credit – when Larry says he wants to go to Paris for awhile and sort things out in his head, she encourages the idea & lets him go without a fuss. Don’t know if it’s entirely genuine yet…but for now – good for her!
  • The worst of the judgers is Isabel’s uncle, Elliott Templeton (Clifton Webb). He is super uppity and does not understand why Larry would not want to be involved with “the right people” – or would ever do something like travel to Paris without taking the proper dressing clothes.
  • As I suspected might happen…after a year, Isabel is much less understanding about Larry’s wandering endeavors. She doesn’t want to go to “cheap restaurants and third-rate hotels” – and she can’t for the life of her comprehend why Larry would.
  • The sets & filming locations chosen for this movie are fantastic.
  • Engagement = BROKEN. (I feel partially bad for Larry, because it always sucks to find out the person you thought would love you & support you through anything is a snob who will ultimately do neither of those things – but I also feel partially happy for him, because now he can fill his life with better, more down-to-earth people who will treat him with the respect he deserves.)
  • I wish Tyrone Power was doing a slightly better job at showing the emotional weight of what his character is dealing with. He’s not doing a bad job, by any means – he just needs a little more…darkness, or something.
  • (Remember that time Gene Tierney romanced Rex Harrison the ghost sea captain? Hahaha. Sorry – I just thought of that & how entirely bizarre that whole plot was, in THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947).)
  • Gray (John Payne) & Isabel just got married, just like Uncle Elliott wanted them to – and they’re going to be fucking miserable. Just give it a few months.
  • Larry has just sought the advice of a wise man who lives in a remote mountain village in India. He plans to stay & learn life lessons, while doing chores around the compound to earn his keep. Turns out Tyrone Power played Liz Gilbert 64 years before Julia Roberts did. That’s fun!
  • Anne Baxter (her character’s name is Sophie) nails the devastating hospital scene. (She was in a car wreck involving a drunk driver & she doesn’t know until Gray tells her that her baby & husband didn’t survive.) Anyhow, Baxter’s Oscar for this movie makes plenty of sense now.
  • God, Uncle Elliott is annoying. He’s currently complaining about how awful & life-ruining the improper sway of the tassel on his satin robe is. What a snooty asshole. I don’t see why Maugham (Herbert Marshall) bothers.

(Then again, I guess he really doesn’t – it seems like they only run into each other once every several years. Good for Maugham. I feel like he is, in fact, fully aware that Uncle Elliott is a materialistic jerkface.)

  • Isabel: Would you believe that since we lost everything in the stock market crash, we’re making the same income now that Larry was when he asked me to marry him, and I rejected him because I didn’t think it was enough for us to properly live on? Plus now there are two children in the mix?

Maugham: Karma’s a bitch, ma’am.

(Paraphrased. Obviously.)

  • So – Larry has finally returned to Paris from India (like…10 years later) and has reconnected with Isabel & Gray (& Maugham). Isabel’s still “totally in love” with Larry – but this has a lot to do with the fact that Gray lost all of their money & is experiencing recurring attacks of depression. As we established long ago, Isabel is a pretty shitty person. Only shitty people try to abandon their mentally under-the-weather (but otherwise pretty damn great) husbands & children for shiny new/old playthings named Larry.
  • “Sophie wallows in the gutter because she likes it – a blind person could see that!” –Isabel

What. A fucking. Wretch.

Isabel’s the worst, and I hope Larry drops his association with her again ASAP.

  • YESSSS!!! This is the greatest plot idea of the whole goddamn movie! Larry & Sophie are getting married! Because they’re by far the best characters of the lot! I am ecstatic!!!
  • In case I haven’t mentioned it, Gene Tierney is great in this movie. Her character is absolutely wretched, but she does an excellent job at making her that way.
  • Boohoo. Sophie was pretty much forced off the ‘no alcohol’ wagon by Isabel the Terrible…and wound up murdered a year after the fact, in rather brutal fashion. Thanks a lot, Isabel – you ruin everything.
  • “I could’ve saved you!” says Isabel, to a perfectly wise & contented Larry. Honey – take a step back. You could have let him save you – not the other way around. What a fool you were & still are. Jesus.
  • The last scene between Isabel & Larry is all kinds of high-quality. I think it’s probably Tyrone’s best scene in the whole movie. He does a tremendous job.
  • Fantastic closing line:

“You see, my dear – goodness is, after all, the greatest force in the world…and he’s got it.” — Maugham, about Larry.

  • Pretty good movie with more-than-decent acting all the way through by the entire cast. It was rather dry in some parts, felt overly long, and I found it difficult to watch based on the unlikableness of primarily Isabel (but also Uncle Elliott) – but I’m willing to bet that it was a pretty good adaptation of the book on which it was based, so those things are mostly excusable. Not planning to watch it again…but I might recommend it to someone else.
  • Fun fact: the author of the 1944 book The Razor’s Edge is none other than a man named W. Somerset Maugham…the character played by Herbert Marshall in the film.
  • Finally: yes, there is a 1986 remake starring Bill Murray. I have no plans to watch that one, as of now.
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