Sep 30, 2011

Darling Deborah Blogathon: The Naked Edge (1961)

OK, I confess it: I had no faith in this film. I didn't even know it existed, and that's saying a lot when Gary Cooper AND Deborah Kerr play the main parts.

Anyway, I did it for Sophie and her Darling Deborah Blogathon: I wanted to check a new movie from Miss Kerr.

First main idea: this movie is like Hitchcock's Suspicion and Shadow of a Doubt. You know, it follows a certain female character and how she starts suspecting that someone very dear is a criminal (her husband in this case). There are many things she starts to see that would confirm this suspicion, and we, like her, start feeling puzzled and scared.

The script was written by Joseph Stefano, you know, the same guy who adapted a novel for Psycho.

Someone killed Gary Cooper's boss and stole a lot of money. In the trial he accuses some colleague: he's sure because he chased him after he heard his boss screaming. This colleague goes to prison but the money never appeared. A year later Gary creates a super expensive company, with money, he says, he won gambling. Another year later, Deborah Kerr, her wife, opens a delayed letter. In it, someone is blackmailing Gary, saying that he wants money or he'll tell Gary committed the crime. [Deborah's suspicious mode: on]

The way the story is presented is very suffocating: the shots are close; the lighting is always dark, the music tense. Most of the scenes occur in closed rooms: offices, bedrooms, a crowded restaurant, a bookshop crammed full of books. The few secondary characters are vicious, gossipy people.There's no comic relief like in Hitchcok's movies.

And Deborah starts investigating. For example, she visits the prisoner's wife in the slums of London (yes, the movie takes place in that capital). And you have never seen London so poor and crowded like in that visit. The contrast with Deborah's expensive clothes and refined pose is shocking, powerful. The woman says her husband was innocent and that Gary was the real murderer. Deborah is impressed to hear her suspicions being shared for other person.

Director Michael Anderson used that effect in a very intelligent way. Now Deborah feels lost, in despair, scared. In a state of mind like that you start seeing everything distorted (like when Snow White escapes through the woods). Check that scene:

Other scene that caught my attention is when Gary and Deborah are discussing their situation. Well, they discuss their situation several times, but in this particular moment she says for the first time she has thought about killing herself. And when those particular words come out Deborah's mouth, the emotion surfaces and her voice trembles. That detail was so real and human that it impressed me:

As you can see in the clip, just like in Hitchcok's movies, the main actor had to play his part leaving place for doubts. Gary never gives a proper, solid answer. He just talks about receipts that are lost. And maybe that's the weaker point in Suspicion and in this one, the doubts rely in the ambiguity of information. Another weak parts are when Deborah and Gary discuss his guilt in a car, while the chauffeur listens to the conversation or in his office, without closing the door!

But I have to say the movie poster doesn't lie: the ending was thrilling and frightening. I think that's the main reason why I really liked this film. I think that the way directors wrap up their movies has a main importance in the way I remember them.

On a side note, it was funny hearing classic actors saying things like:
Gary: Could a woman live with a man sleep with him and not know he's a murderer?
Deborah: Do murderer's make love differently?
Gary: You can't be a littlle suspicious. It's like virginity, you either are, or aren't.

So, yes, I recommend this movie. It was very well filmed, has great performances and an exciting-very-Hitchockish-plot.

Click here to check the rest of the Darling Deborah Blogathon entries :)


  1. "I think that the way directors wrap up their movies has a main importance in the way I remember them."

    Wow, this is so true for me, too. There have been so many films that I enjoyed until nearly the end, when they just didn't tie things up right. Of course it works both ways--sometimes the ending is really the best part because there is a surprise twist or something.

  2. This looks WAY too scary for me! But sounds completely riveting!

  3. Thanks so much for participating in the blogathon, Clara! :D I love "The Naked Edge" and, as usual, your review was just THE BEST! It's so underrated yet sooo good. It's interesting that Deborah made two of her most intense and terrifying films in the same year, 1961. :)

  4. Thanks for organizing this blogathon, Sophie, and allowing me to discover a new movie. Yes, this one is very underrated! And you're right, maybe Deborah said "1961 is my year to make dramatic films!". Thank you for your comment :)

  5. Hey Emma, well, always think if Clara could cope with it, so can I :) The last minutes are very tense, but brief and thrilling. Watch it sometime with company :) Thanks for visiting!

  6. Yeah, it's a very unfair notion, but it's true :) Thanks for the feedback, girl.



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