Edge of the City (1957)

Approved   |    |  Drama


Edge of the City (1957) Poster

Two New York City longshoremen Axel Nordmann, an Army deserter and Tommy Tyler, an easy-going freight car loader whose growing friendship is threatened by Charles Malik, a notably repellent punk.

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7.2/10
2,162

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  • John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier in Edge of the City (1957)
  • John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier in Edge of the City (1957)
  • Ruby Dee in Edge of the City (1957)
  • Sidney Poitier in Edge of the City (1957)
  • "Edge of the City" (Saul Bass Poster) 1957 MGM
  • "Edge of the City" (Saul Bass Poster) 1957 MGM

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3 August 2008 | blanche-2
8
| Excellent film, shades of On the Waterfront
1957's Edge of the City, directed by Martin Ritt, stars John Cassavetes, Sidney Poitier, Jack Warden and Ruby Dee. It's the story of a troubled man, Axel, who has a mysterious past that gradually comes out during the film. He has a connection that gets him a job on a loading dock working for Charlie (Jack Warden), a real meanie who takes kickbacks from his workers and rides them hard. Charlie has an intense dislike for a black man, T.T. (Poitier) who holds the same position. T.T. invites Axel to work on his team; Axel defies Charlie and does so. Axel finds a place to live and socializes with T.T., his his wife (Dee) and their son's white schoolteacher (Kathleen McGuire). When tragedy strikes, none of the men on the loading dock will talk to the police, and Axel has to come to grips with his values, what he stands for, and the meaning of friendship.

This is a really excellent black and white film that curiously isn't really about being black or white! It's really about the limits one puts on oneself and knowing who you are. Charlie is a bigot and hates that a black man has a good position on the dock. T.T. teases Charlie and gives as good as he gets. There's no discussion of T.T. and Axel spending time together or of T.T.'s son having a white teacher with whom the family also socializes. What Axel, a loner, finds difficult is accepting any friendship or confiding in anyone - these things he learns through T.T.

Poitier absolutely shines in "Edge of the City" - he's warm, energetic, loving and smart, a man with a real enthusiasm for life, afraid of nothing. Cassavetes is excellent and plays a character totally opposite - hiding in the shadows, chronically depressed and always nervous.

The film leaves open what happens to Axel. Whatever does, he's a different man now.

Strangely underrated and unknown film, possibly in the shadow of a lot of the angry young men films that came out in that era.

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