The Light at the Edge of the World (1971)

GP   |    |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

The Light at the Edge of the World (1971) Poster

A ruthless pirate captures the keeper of a lighthouse, in the most southern city in Argentina. His goal is obvious and horrific. He plans to control the lighthouses signals in a way that the passing ships will be crushed on the rocks.


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10 January 2013 | Bob-45
| Strong Leads and Narrative overcome Inept Production
After seeing "The Light at the Edge of the World," over 40 years after its release, I understand why it was a dismal flop in 1971. I remember the billboard advertising highlighting Kirk Douglas and Jules Verne, with small pictures of Yul Brynner and Samantha Eggar. I am certain many a parent dragged her kids screaming from a "Jules Verne/Kirk Douglas pirate movie" featuring mutilations, gang rape and the skinning of one especially beloved character. Those few adult couples likely attracted to the movie were likely put off by the weak pacing, inept direction and abysmal music.

However those of us who can look beyond the cheap jack trappings will be rewarded with strong lead performances by Kirk Douglas and, especially, Yul Brynner. Samantha Eggar, who has much less screen time, also impresses, even though most of her scenes are undercut by the weak direction.

At 2 hours and 7 minutes, "The Light at the Edge of the World" is at least 20 minutes too long. The flashback exposition regarding Douglas' character is not only unnecessary, it undercuts what little suspense the ineffectual direction could muster. One of these days, I would love to have video editing software to deconstruct and reconstruct this movie, removing unnecessary scenes, tightening camera fields and replacing the awful music. Barring that, "The Light at the Edge of the Word" is worth seeing, if only for Yul Brynner's chilling performance.

I give "The Light at the Edge of the World" a "6".

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