At the Fine Arts
Howling winds and the roar of surf pounding against cliffs hundreds of feet high,--such is the incidental music that surges through one of the cinematic masterpieces of out time, "The Edge of the World." That music sets the tempo, and in time with its thunderous beat marches a story of decaying society that is as grim as it is magnificent. That little group of people, on a desolate little island north of Scotland, fighting a losing battle against nature, themselves, and the breakdown of the immemorial traditions, becomes a living cell symbolic of a larger organism.
Choosing to make entertainment out of such funereal subject matter required no small amount of guts on the part of the director, Michael Powell. His decision showed conviction in his own powers to lift the production above the gloominess of its surroundings and give it not only a large dose of social conscience, but the powerful entertainment value that comes of great tragedy. Those forces which could have killed the picture so easily,--the greyness and desolation of the set, the start, decadence of the characters,--were capitalized on by Powell to give the picture the incredible strength which it possesses.
Perhaps "The Edge of the World" will not have the popular appreciation it deserves. The Public, getting wind of a dreary plot in a dreary set, may stay away in droves,--but at their own expense. They will be cutting themselves out of the truest entertainment that has flashed on American screens. Admitted, there is no racy romance, no screwball comedy in "The Edge of the World," but there is emotional strength and intellectual escape. The sterling quality of the film, lifting the audience out of itself, sweeping it on to a dynamic climax, make the picture live up to the greatest traditions of true entertainment.