26 September 2007 | blanche-2
Sad and very dark
Farley Granger is a young man on the "Edge of Doom," in this 1950 film also starring Dana Andrews, Mala Powers and Paul Stewart. When a young priest wants to change parishes, Father Roth (Dana Andrews) tells the story of Martin Lynn (Granger), saying that what happened with Martin showed him that, as a priest, he was in the right place. Martin Lynn is a young man who is having trouble making ends meet as a delivery man for a florist; he has a chronically ill mother, and he wants to be able to move her to Arizona. However, after working with the florist for four years, he still can't get a raise. When his mother dies, he wants a high-priced funeral for her. He goes to the church rectory, as his mother was deeply religious and, despite living in near poverty, always gave what she could to the parish church. In an ensuing argument with an old, tired and tough priest (Harold Vermilyea), Martin hits him over the head, and the priest dies. Later, he's picked up, not for the murder, but for the robbery of a movie theater actually done by his neighbor (Paul Stewart). Though released, the detective in charge (Robert Keith) is still suspicious of him.
"Edge of Doom" is a grim noir that never lets up; Martin Lynn can't get a break, not from his boss, the funeral director or the church. His girlfriend (Mala Powers) at first feels there is no place for her in his life because of his mother. After the mother dies and Paul commits murder, he breaks up with her. His only support is Father Roth, whom he doesn't like - he resents the church for not burying his father on hallowed ground when he committed suicide and for taking his mother's money. It's not often in a film that one sees a priest killed - and with a cross yet.
The acting is good if not great. Farley Granger is sympathetic as Martin. He was often cast in this type of role. Dana Andrews does an okay job as the priest, but is a little too precious. The way to play a priest is the way Spencer Tracy did - as a man first. Andrews tries to put on a priestly air but it seems forced.
Apparently this film was not well received upon release and was withdrawn to add the very beginning, where Andrews begins to tell the story, and the very end, which comes back to the present time with Andrews and the priest. It doesn't really help the film's relentless, depressing tone. Don't watch this one if you need a smile or a feel-good movie.