Edge of Darkness (1943)

Genres - Drama, Thriller, War  |   Sub-Genres - Resistance Film, War Drama  |   Release Date - May 31, 1943 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 120 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Tom Wiener

One of the great chapters of World War II history is the amazing and persistent resistance put up by the Norwegians against their Nazi occupiers. Sadly, few Hollywood films since the war have been made from these dramatic stories, though there were a spate of wartime releases: The Commandos Have Landed (also known as They Raid by Night), First Comes Courage, Commandos Strike at Dawn, and perhaps the best of the lot, Edge of Darkness. Edge benefits from a solid pedigree: veteran director Lewis Milestone, up-and-coming screenwriter Robert Rossen, and a first-rate cast of Warner Bros. players, none of them Norwegian, but all quite convincing nonetheless. The film is best at showing how not every citizen of Norway believed that the Nazis' iron fist could or even should be countered with sabotage. In a small village, this means that the plans of the freedom fighters have to be closely guarded, with even families split along either side of the debate. Shooting on locations on the California coast that resemble Norway adds a level of authenticity. And the action sequences are well staged, particularly a siege of a mountain cabin. If the heroics at the conclusion feel a bit contrived, it's understandable, given that the film was released while the battle in Norway was still raging.