The Naked Edge (1961)

99 mins | Mystery, Melodrama | 30 June 1961

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HISTORY

The project was originally titled First Train to Babylon, after Max Ehrlich’s 1955 novel upon which it is based. The 1 May 1956 DV noted that A. W. Schwalberg first optioned screen rights, followed by producer Ilya Lopert, who hired Ronald Neame to direct, as stated in the 28 Dec 1956 DV. The project lapsed under Lopert, and the book was eventually optioned by executive producer Marlon Brando, Sr.’s Pennebaker, Inc., which was set to co-produce with Gary Cooper’s Baroda Productions, Inc., the 4 Apr 1960 LAT reported. Cooper was also set to star, and the 16 Sep 1960 DV indicated that filming would begin on 3 Oct 1960 at Associated British Picture Corporation’s (ABPC) studio (a.k.a. Elstree Studios) in Borehamwood, England. Michael Anderson was named as director in a 4 Sep 1960 NYT article, which mentioned that Cooper and Anderson had previously worked together on The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959, see entry). The budget was cited as $1.5 million in the 13 Feb 1962 DV. Cooper was paid $275,000 in addition to a fifty-percent stake in the film, while the salary for his co-star, Deborah Kerr, was cited as $400,000. Anderson was reportedly paid a flat fee of $100,000.
       British actor Terence Brook, best known as “the lonely man” from a popular British cigarette commercial, was cast in the picture, the 25 Oct 1960 LAT reported.
       Principal photography began on 30 Sep 1960, a few days earlier than previously announced, according to a 7 Oct 1960 DV production chart. A month into filming, production was ... More Less

The project was originally titled First Train to Babylon, after Max Ehrlich’s 1955 novel upon which it is based. The 1 May 1956 DV noted that A. W. Schwalberg first optioned screen rights, followed by producer Ilya Lopert, who hired Ronald Neame to direct, as stated in the 28 Dec 1956 DV. The project lapsed under Lopert, and the book was eventually optioned by executive producer Marlon Brando, Sr.’s Pennebaker, Inc., which was set to co-produce with Gary Cooper’s Baroda Productions, Inc., the 4 Apr 1960 LAT reported. Cooper was also set to star, and the 16 Sep 1960 DV indicated that filming would begin on 3 Oct 1960 at Associated British Picture Corporation’s (ABPC) studio (a.k.a. Elstree Studios) in Borehamwood, England. Michael Anderson was named as director in a 4 Sep 1960 NYT article, which mentioned that Cooper and Anderson had previously worked together on The Wreck of the Mary Deare (1959, see entry). The budget was cited as $1.5 million in the 13 Feb 1962 DV. Cooper was paid $275,000 in addition to a fifty-percent stake in the film, while the salary for his co-star, Deborah Kerr, was cited as $400,000. Anderson was reportedly paid a flat fee of $100,000.
       British actor Terence Brook, best known as “the lonely man” from a popular British cigarette commercial, was cast in the picture, the 25 Oct 1960 LAT reported.
       Principal photography began on 30 Sep 1960, a few days earlier than previously announced, according to a 7 Oct 1960 DV production chart. A month into filming, production was shut down for one day on 31 Oct 1960, after a gas heater at the Tower of London exploded, as noted in the 1 Nov 1960 DV. An LAT item published on the same date stated that Gary Cooper had attempted to save co-star Eric Portman’s costumes from a trailer that had caught on fire. Principal photography ended on 17 or 18 Dec 1960, as noted in the 20 Dec 1960 DV.
       During the filming of a fight scene, Cooper endured a back injury, as stated in the 26 Mar 1961 LAT. The actor was later ordered to rest for several months, according to a 24 Mar 1961 DV item. Meanwhile, he had been suffering from cancer, which was not publicly disclosed until Apr 1961, shortly before his death on 13 May 1961, as noted in the 14 May 1961 LAT. The Naked Edge marked his final film appearance. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
1 May 1956
p. 9.
Daily Variety
28 Dec 1956
p. 7.
Daily Variety
19 Aug 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
2 Sep 1960
p. 3.
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Oct 1960
p. 6.
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1960
p. 3.
Daily Variety
4 Nov 1960
p. 2.
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1960
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 Mar 1961
p. 24.
Daily Variety
13 Feb 1962
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
4 Apr 1960
Section C, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
6 Apr 1960
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
25 Oct 1960
Section C, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
1 Nov 1960
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
26 Mar 1961.
---
Los Angeles Times
14 May 1961.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Jul 1961
Section B, p. 13.
New York Times
4 Sep 1960
p. 79.
New York Times
4 Dec 1960
p. 7.
New York Times
1 Jul 1961
p. 9.
Variety
28 Sep 1960
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
1st, 2d & 3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus
Cam grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Assembly ed
2d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Scenic artist
Draughtsman
Draughtsman
COSTUMES
Dress des
Ward master
Ward mistress
MUSIC
Mus comp
Played by
SOUND
Sd mix
Boom op
Sd cam op
MAKEUP
Chief makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Asst to the prod
Loc mgr
Prod secy
Constr mgr
Prop buyer
Casting dir
Ch elec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel First Train to Babylon by Max Ehrlich (New York, 1955).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
First Train to Babylon
Release Date:
30 June 1961
Premiere Information:
Helena, Montana, opening: 28 June 1961
New York opening: 30 June 1961
Production Date:
30 September--17 or 18 December 1960
Copyright Claimant:
Pennebaker, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 June 1961
Copyright Number:
LP20320
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
99
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The courtroom testimony of George Radcliffe, an American businessman working in London, is so persuasive that a coworker, Donald Heath, is convicted of robbing and murdering the owner of the trucking firm where they were both employed. Although no trace of the money is found, Heath is sentenced to life imprisonment. Immediately after the trial, George tells his wife, Martha, that he has made a "killing" in the stock market and is using his new wealth to join Morris Brooke in buying out a shipping concern. The venture proves to be enormously successful and within five years George has become extremely wealthy. Then a blackmail note arrives in which a disbarred attorney, Jeremy Clay, accuses George of having committed the murder. Recalling the vagueness of the circumstances under which George acquired his money, Martha begins to doubt her husband. Hoping for reassurance, she conducts a series of private investigations, but each effort only makes her more certain of George's guilt. Finally, she visits Clay, who tells her he actually saw George commit the murder. Fearing that George will now kill her, Martha returns home. As she enters the bathroom she is seized by Clay, who tapes her mouth and attempts to slash her wrists. However, George bursts into the room and subdues Clay. Before the police arrive, Clay admits he committed the crime for which Heath was ... +


The courtroom testimony of George Radcliffe, an American businessman working in London, is so persuasive that a coworker, Donald Heath, is convicted of robbing and murdering the owner of the trucking firm where they were both employed. Although no trace of the money is found, Heath is sentenced to life imprisonment. Immediately after the trial, George tells his wife, Martha, that he has made a "killing" in the stock market and is using his new wealth to join Morris Brooke in buying out a shipping concern. The venture proves to be enormously successful and within five years George has become extremely wealthy. Then a blackmail note arrives in which a disbarred attorney, Jeremy Clay, accuses George of having committed the murder. Recalling the vagueness of the circumstances under which George acquired his money, Martha begins to doubt her husband. Hoping for reassurance, she conducts a series of private investigations, but each effort only makes her more certain of George's guilt. Finally, she visits Clay, who tells her he actually saw George commit the murder. Fearing that George will now kill her, Martha returns home. As she enters the bathroom she is seized by Clay, who tapes her mouth and attempts to slash her wrists. However, George bursts into the room and subdues Clay. Before the police arrive, Clay admits he committed the crime for which Heath was convicted. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.