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      The Edge of the World

      Released Sep 9, 1938 1h 20m Drama List
      100% Tomatometer 14 Reviews 78% Audience Score 500+ Ratings The people of St. Kilda, a tiny Scottish island, have maintained the same simple lifestyle for generations. When the younger adults that inhabit the island begin to leave for more satisfyingly modern lives, the elders start to realize that their culture is disappearing. While James Gray (Finlay Currie), an important figure in the tiny community, grows pessimistic about the future of St. Kilda, his son, Andrew (Niall MacGinnis), is one of the few young people who refuse to desert their homes. Read More Read Less

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      Critics Reviews

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      Eric Henderson Slant Magazine Michael Powell entered the golden age of his career with The Edge of the World. Rated: 3/4 Dec 18, 2003 Full Review Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times This first "serious" film by Powell doesn't seem to predict his career. You can't imagine the maker of this film going on to make The Red Shoes. What it does show, though, is a voluptuous regard for visual images. Rated: 3/4 Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader Rated: 3/4 Jan 1, 2000 Full Review Angelos Koutsourakis PopMatters The Edge of the World has a very loose narrative structure and in many respects the Scottish landscape becomes the major protagonist at the expense of dramaturgy and character portrayal. Rated: 8/10 Feb 23, 2024 Full Review Sarah Boslaugh TheArtsStl The Edge of the World is a beautiful film, demonstrating the possibilities of black and white cinematography in a distinctive outdoor location. Rated: 8/10 Oct 31, 2023 Full Review Dennis Harvey 48 Hills For all the florid, often studio-bound qualities of Powell's later work, Edge is a model of economy, its stark beauty as well as melodrama determined by the grave dangers of sea and cliffs. Feb 12, 2021 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      paul d Michael Powell's The Edge off the World is the story of the inhabitants of a Scottish island who live a very hard life. They face a constant dilemma: embrace modernity and leave for the mainland, or continue their ancestors' age-old struggle to survive in a harsh environment? This story is told through the eyes of young and old, and through the lenses of friendship, young love and ancient rituals, with some headstrong risk-taking to boot. The cinematography is outstanding, with vivid portrayals of landscapes, seascapes and the faces of the islanders. There's also a love story to tie it all together. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Shot on location at Foula, one of the tiny Shetland Islands off the northwest coast of Scotland, this may be director Michael Powellâ(TM)s first masterpiece. Some suggest that it is very different from the highly stylized Technicolor pictures that Powell later made with his key collaborator Emeric Pressburger (e.g., The Red Shoes, 1948; Black Narcissus, 1947) â" but in truth this seems not too far distant from some of their masterpieces (such as I Know Where Iâ(TM)m Going, 1945, which takes place in the same general locale). There is an almost surreal pictorial beauty here with land and seascape, flora, and fauna sharing almost equal billing with the human characters of the story (Terence Malick must have taken inspiration here). Foula is impressive, with its steep cliffs topped by green pastures and rocky coast lashed by the sea but it is a stand-in for St. Kilda, an island in the Hebrides which was vacated by its residents after they decided that their way of life could not be sustained in the modern world. And this is the plot that Powell pursues â" he examines a community that is grappling with whether it can sustain itself as its young people choose to leave for the mainland and better jobs and less harsh conditions. A young Niall MacGinnis (who I know best from Curse of the Demon, 1957) plays Andrew Gray who wishes to remain on the island with his father (the great Finlay Currie) and accepts a challenge from Robbie Manson (Eric Berry) who wishes to leave â" the challenge is to climb the steepest cliff barehanded and the winner will decide the fate of the island. Itâ(TM)s a nail-biting sequence. Although Gray wins, his love for Mansonâ(TM)s sister Ruth (Belle Chrystall) drives him to leave the island (and his yet-unknown unborn son). Soon the whole community plans to leave, but the Manson patriarch (John Laurie) stubbornly resists leaving without first gathering some rare eggs. The plot itself is almost beside the point here because Powellâ(TM)s sense of the environment, here at the nearly literal edge of the world (or at least the UK), is spectacularly mystical. Surely, this would be a destination for reflection on beauty and on human insignificance in the grand scheme of things. Powellâ(TM)s focus is instead on the loss of culture and community with modernity, a subtle theme that can be traced through his work. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review Audience Member Some of the acting is very stiff and clunky, but the photography and stoic dignity of the inhabitants of the fictional doomed Scottish island at the centre of Michael Powell's short feature more than compensate. As in so many of his films characters are always falling to their deaths from a great height. One of them here is John Laurie, in a marvellous performance that proves what a great actor he was thirty years before Dad's Army claimed him. Strangely moving. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/27/23 Full Review Audience Member This 1937 film in my opinion is the first masterpiece from Michael Powell. It's a simple and small story, but it is told with passion and skill. The film is gorgeously shot on location in harsh conditions, but it really brings the story to life. This was a very personal film for Powell and he held it in high regard. This is a must watch for any cinema lover! Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/06/23 Full Review Audience Member year s/b 1937 NOT 2000 Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member A fine well thought out story as two friends fall out on a remote Scottish isle and challenge each other to a dare with tragic consequences. Being slightly critical, for a short film there are too many and quite lengthy sequences which give it a promotional feel for tourists. Still worth a watch though. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Edge of the World

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis The people of St. Kilda, a tiny Scottish island, have maintained the same simple lifestyle for generations. When the younger adults that inhabit the island begin to leave for more satisfyingly modern lives, the elders start to realize that their culture is disappearing. While James Gray (Finlay Currie), an important figure in the tiny community, grows pessimistic about the future of St. Kilda, his son, Andrew (Niall MacGinnis), is one of the few young people who refuse to desert their homes.
      Director
      Michael Powell
      Producer
      Joe Rock
      Screenwriter
      Michael Powell
      Distributor
      BuyIndies.com Inc., Reel Media International [us], Pax Films Inc.
      Production Co
      Joe Rock Productions
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      English (United Kingdom)
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Sep 9, 1938, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Nov 17, 2018
      Runtime
      1h 20m
      Sound Mix
      Mono
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.37:1)
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