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  • The Razor's Edge
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The Razor's Edge

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb
  • Directors: Edmund Goulding
  • Writers: Darryl F. Zanuck, Lamar Trotti, W. Somerset Maugham
  • Producers: Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 24, 2005
  • Run Time: 145 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007PALVQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,306 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Razor's Edge" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by Anthony Slide and Robert Birchar
  • Fox Movietone News

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Narrated by on-screen observer Maugham (Herbert Marshall), this intriguing tale centers on a soul-searching World War I veteran (Tyrone Power) who finds he can not settle back into the world of the upper class. Shunning his planned marriage and career, he travels abroad to seek the meaning of life and career, he travels abroad to seek the meaning of life and causes his distraght fiancee (GeneTierney) to seek solace with another man (John Payne).


The Somerset Maugham novel should be read by everybody at a certain age (say, early twenties), and this 1946 movie adaptation of The Razor's Edge stays faithful to the book's questing spirit. Despite its apparently uncommercial storyline, it was a pet project of Fox honcho Darryl F. Zanuck, who saw the spiritual journey of Larry Darrell (Tyrone Power) as an "adventure" movie. Power, who was newly returned to Hollywood after his military service in World War I, does his most soul-searching work as the WWI vet who needs to find something in life deeper than money and conformity. The search takes him away from fiancee Gene Tierney and her skeptical uncle Clifton Webb and into Parisian streets and Himalayan mountain ranges. Herbert Marshall deftly plays the role of "Somerset Maugham," the observing author, and Anne Baxter picked up the supporting actress Oscar for her brassy turn as a floozy. The picture has the careful, glossy look of the studio system's peak years (you can sense Zanuck "classing it up" and squeezing the life out of it), and Edmund Goulding's tasteful approach is hardly the way to dig deep into the soul of man. If it seems a little staid today, its square sincerity nevertheless holds up well--and it just looks so fabulous. The really amazing thing about the movie is that it was made at all. A 1984 remake, with Bill Murray, is an extremely weird variation on the material. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

A man in search of his purpose and reason in life.
K. Sherry
You will feel like getting up and going out and live your life to the fullest, you will want to be all that you can be.
Clyde Johnson
And Tierney is beautiful and emotes every bit of the cunning and ulterior motives throughout this film.
B. Gordon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Smith VINE VOICE on May 26, 2005
Format: DVD
The newly released DVD of 20th Century Fox's production of W. Somerset Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" is a cinematic treasure. The direction by Edmond Goulding is top notch and captures the glamour and decadence of post World War I Paris in glittering perfection. Much praise must go to the art and set direction by Richard Day and Nathan Juran. Over 80 sets were constructed; some only glimpsed for a few moments evoke the period and splendor of the time and place. The production values of this picture are of the highest quality of this, Fox's "Important Picture for 1946".Goulding was famous for long takes and he is aided by the brilliant cinematographer Arthur C. Miller. The score by Alfred Newman is magnificent though surprisingly sparse for a film from the 1940's His use of source music and songs of the period help to inform the viewer of character and mood. His main theme is majestic and stirring and its reprise at the end is something near to epic played against a close-up of Tyrone Power and dissolves into the crashing waves against a tramp steamer.

Though a little too old and too handsome for the role of Larry Darell Tyrone Power, turns in a beautifully felt performance of a man in search for himself and his place in the world. A very modern and complex idea for the 1940's involving a trip to India and consultations with a guru. Gene Tierney is perfect as the woman who loves him and will stop at nothing to get him. This underrated beauty gives one of her best performances in an unsympathetic role. Anne Baxter, who won her Oscar as Sophie, is at times touching, real and yet manages to chew her share of the scenery toward the end of the picture. She is just plain fun to watch. But the picture is completely stolen by the wonderful, prissy and perfect performance of Clifton Web.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Armes on June 15, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
'The Razor's Edge' is truly a rare masterpiece. this movie is slowly paced but not at all plodding. a profound message lies within the sophisticated dialogue. the viewer must have a mature patience to reap the enriching experience from this excellent film. this one was definitely a superior film. it deserved the oscar but unfortunately there were 2 other masterpieces released tha year (1946), one of which garnered the oscar (The Best Years Of Our Lives). a true classic that deserves more recognition than it has received thru the years.

as for the DVD, it is a good clean transfer. the only true extra is the commentary. it is still well worth the money.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Milka Stanojevich on November 1, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Goulding's intrepretation of Maugham's novel is elegant and visually alluring. It doesn't hurt to have Tyrone Power as Larry and the stunning Gene Tierney as Isabelle. Anyone that loves dramatic cinema that is thought-provoking and leaves you feeling satiated will enjoy this movie. Although most movies don't compare with the novels they are based on, this one comes close.
This is a movie about a non-conformist; Larry doesn't want to live the life society expects of him, he wants to savor life on his own terms. Isn't that what your life should be about anyways? Somehow you sense that in the 21st century Larry would not be driving an SUV and a gas grill would not be sitting on his patio underneath the satellite disk. Perhaps it would be more accurate to state that Larry is his own man and that he is more concerned about what he thinks of himself versus what others think of him. Clifton Webb is perfect as Elliott Templeton, the quitessential snob who is catty and generous in equal turns. John Payne is a self-effacing Gray and Anne Baxter shines as Sophie. At the movies conclusion, the only person you can envy is Larry, because he is living life exactly the way he wants.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By J. Kara Russell VINE VOICE on January 11, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The plot synopsis above tells you the story line, and this very unconvential story is remarkable in having been made. At a time when some other movies were being made in color, this was still in black and white, which tells you where the movie moguls placed it in "rank". Color was reserved for block busters, and despite the epic sweep of this story, they didn't expect it to sell. (Also, "serious" dramas were often done in B&W.) It fits very well in black and white, both with it being set in the 1920s, and much of its story line is dark.
Tyrone Power does some of his best acting work in this film. Perhaps his military service deepened him, or the story line seemed more important and personal to him, but I believed his quest for something beyond the conventional, comfortable life. Unfortunately, as a fan of Gene Tierney, I find this her worst work. Even at her best she can be alittle blank, but here, a level of mental machinery is required of this manipulative, calculating character, and we are left always seeing only an beautiful empty surface. Her eyes betray no inner life. And yet, as soon as you dismiss her as an empty shell, she will have a really lovely moment of total truth, ususally in the most odd places. She is perfectly cast as the pampered, narrow minded patrician. She does look a bit like Kathryn Hepburn, who was considered for the role, but determined to not have enough charm - and it is true. Hepburn in this role would have had more fire and spirit, but not this genteel icy sweetness. We do see why he loves her inspite of knowing how rotten she is.
Contrast Tierney's blankness with a very young Anne Baxter who has a very demanding role; first mousy and insecure, heartbroken and heartbreaking, and then alcoholic and defeated.
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