The Razor's Edge (1984)

PG-13 | 129 mins | Drama, Adventure, Romance | 19 October 1984

Director:

John Byrum

Cinematographer:

Peter Hannan

Editor:

Peter Boyle

Production Designer:

Philip Harrison

Production Company:

Colgems Productions
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HISTORY

       A 30 May 1984 DV news item announced that Columbia Pictures obtained “foreign remake rights” to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.’s The Razor’s Edge (1946, see entry), in exchange for distribution rights to Romancing the Stone (1984, see entry). Columbia reportedly paid between $75,000 to 125,000 to the estate of author W. Somerset Maugham, who wrote the 1944 novel The Razor’s Edge upon which the film is based.
       According to a 12 Oct 1984 LAT article, screenwriter-star Bill Murray agreed to appear in Columbia’s Ghostbusters (1984, see entry) as a tradeoff for the studio’s financing of The Razor’s Edge.
       DV production charts on 29 Jul 1983 stated that principal photography began 4 Jul 1983, and a 30 May 1984 DV news item noted production continued through Oct 1983 in London, England; Paris, France; and India. A 24 Oct 1984 Var announced the budget at “slightly under $12 million.”
       A 12 Oct 1984 LAT article reported that associate producer Jason Laskay filed a $1 million lawsuit against screenwriter-director John Byrum for fraud and breach of contract. Laskay unsuccessfully attempted to obtain screen rights to the novel beginning in 1977. The lawsuit claimed that Laskay agreed to turn over his paperwork concerning the rights to Byrum in return for co-producing, co-starring, and a percentage of the film’s profits. In the meantime, producer Robert P. Marcucci had purchased literary rights from W. Somerset Maugham’s estate, and made a deal with Byrum to write a screenplay. Byrum stated the oral agreement only ... More Less

       A 30 May 1984 DV news item announced that Columbia Pictures obtained “foreign remake rights” to Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.’s The Razor’s Edge (1946, see entry), in exchange for distribution rights to Romancing the Stone (1984, see entry). Columbia reportedly paid between $75,000 to 125,000 to the estate of author W. Somerset Maugham, who wrote the 1944 novel The Razor’s Edge upon which the film is based.
       According to a 12 Oct 1984 LAT article, screenwriter-star Bill Murray agreed to appear in Columbia’s Ghostbusters (1984, see entry) as a tradeoff for the studio’s financing of The Razor’s Edge.
       DV production charts on 29 Jul 1983 stated that principal photography began 4 Jul 1983, and a 30 May 1984 DV news item noted production continued through Oct 1983 in London, England; Paris, France; and India. A 24 Oct 1984 Var announced the budget at “slightly under $12 million.”
       A 12 Oct 1984 LAT article reported that associate producer Jason Laskay filed a $1 million lawsuit against screenwriter-director John Byrum for fraud and breach of contract. Laskay unsuccessfully attempted to obtain screen rights to the novel beginning in 1977. The lawsuit claimed that Laskay agreed to turn over his paperwork concerning the rights to Byrum in return for co-producing, co-starring, and a percentage of the film’s profits. In the meantime, producer Robert P. Marcucci had purchased literary rights from W. Somerset Maugham’s estate, and made a deal with Byrum to write a screenplay. Byrum stated the oral agreement only allowed for Laskay to serve as “assistant to the producer.” Laskay was given an associate producer credit and paid $25,000, plus a $10,000 pay-or-play deal to act, but he does not appear onscreen.
      End credits include the following statement: “Made at Thorn EMI Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, Herts, England, and on location by Colgems Productions Limited, 19 Wells Street, London W1P 3FP, England.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
California
Nov 1984.
---
Christian Science Monitor
25 Oct 1984.
---
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1983.
---
Daily Variety
30 May 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 1984
p. 3, 10.
LA Weekly
19 Oct 1984.
---
LAHExam
19 Oct 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 Oct 1984.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Oct 1984
p. 1, 17.
Motion Picture Production Digest
2 Nov 1984.
---
New Republic
19 Nov 1984.
---
New York Times
19 Oct 1984
p. 14.
Newsweek
22 Oct 1984.
---
Screen International
8 Jul 1983.
---
Time
29 Oct 1984.
---
Variety
17 Oct 1984
p. 14.
Variety
24 Oct 1984
p. 11, 452.
Variety
29 Oct 1984.
---
Village Voice
30 Oct 1984.
---
WSJ
18 Oct 1984.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures presents
A Marcucci – Cohen – Benn production of
A John Byrum film
From Columbia-Delphi Productions
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr - France
Prod mgr - India
Asst dir
Asst dir, French unit
Unit mgr, India unit
Asst dir, India unit
2d asst
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Lighting contractors
Prod processing
Elec gaffer, French unit
Cam focus
Clapper/Loader
Standby rigger
Best boy
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir, India unit
Decor & lettering artist
Art dept asst
FILM EDITORS
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Const mgr
Prop master
Prod buyer
Set dresser, French unit
Prop buyer, French unit
Const mgr, French unit
Set dec, India unit
Prop man, India unit
Draughtsman
Standby props
Standby props
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Dressing propman
Prop storeman
Standby carpenter
Standby painter
Standby stagehand
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward master
Ward mistress, India unit
MUSIC
Mus cond
SOUND
Dubbing mixer
Supv sd ed
Dial ed
Boom op
Sd maintenance
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Asst makeup
Hairdresser
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
Casting dir
Prod supv
Loc mgr
Continuity
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod accountant
Loc mgr, French unit
Prod asst, French unit
Crowd casting, French unit
Casting, French unit
Accountant, French unit
Loc mgr, India unit
Unit doctor, India unit
Accountant, India unit
Caterer, India unit
Prod secy
Prod runner
Asst accountant
Accounts secy
STAND INS
Stunt arr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham (Garden City, 1944).
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 October 1984
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 19 October 1984
Production Date:
4 July--October 1983 in London, England
Paris, France
and India
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 November 1984
Copyright Number:
PA235297
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo in selected theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
129
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27260
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Lake Forest, Illinois, recent college graduates Larry Darrell and Gray Maturin prepare to serve as volunteer ambulance drivers in Europe during World War I. At a Fourth of July celebration, they bid farewell to Larry’s fiancée, Isabel, and a married couple, Bob and Sophie. Isabel’s wealthy Uncle Elliot Templeton, who lives in Paris, France, offers to provide Larry with introductions to European aristocrats. Sometime later, in France, Larry and Gray locate their leader, Piedmont, and what remains of his team, a man named Malcolm. They are later joined by two men from Harvard University, Brian Ryan and Doug Van Allen. While Piedmont rides with Larry in one ambulance, Gray rides with Malcolm in another, and the Harvard men pilot their own vehicle. During their shifts, Larry absorbs Piedmont’s cynical life lessons. The teams pick up casualties on a battlefield to transport them eight kilometers to the nearest hospital. Piedmont warns the drivers not to stop under any circumstances, but the Harvard men ignore his advice when Van Allen is wounded, and both he and Brian Ryan are killed when their ambulance is bombed. Later, Piedmont, Larry, Malcolm, and Gray are attacked by German troops and Piedmont is killed. After the war, Gray and Larry return to Lake Forest. However, Larry is restless and postpones his wedding to Isabel, as well as his job working as a stockbroker for Gray’s father. Larry tells Isabel that he needs time to think and travels to Paris, where he lives in a garret after refusing Uncle Elliot’s financial help. Six months later, Isabel and her mother, Louisa, visit Paris. When Larry informs Isabel that he is working as a fish packer and ... +


In Lake Forest, Illinois, recent college graduates Larry Darrell and Gray Maturin prepare to serve as volunteer ambulance drivers in Europe during World War I. At a Fourth of July celebration, they bid farewell to Larry’s fiancée, Isabel, and a married couple, Bob and Sophie. Isabel’s wealthy Uncle Elliot Templeton, who lives in Paris, France, offers to provide Larry with introductions to European aristocrats. Sometime later, in France, Larry and Gray locate their leader, Piedmont, and what remains of his team, a man named Malcolm. They are later joined by two men from Harvard University, Brian Ryan and Doug Van Allen. While Piedmont rides with Larry in one ambulance, Gray rides with Malcolm in another, and the Harvard men pilot their own vehicle. During their shifts, Larry absorbs Piedmont’s cynical life lessons. The teams pick up casualties on a battlefield to transport them eight kilometers to the nearest hospital. Piedmont warns the drivers not to stop under any circumstances, but the Harvard men ignore his advice when Van Allen is wounded, and both he and Brian Ryan are killed when their ambulance is bombed. Later, Piedmont, Larry, Malcolm, and Gray are attacked by German troops and Piedmont is killed. After the war, Gray and Larry return to Lake Forest. However, Larry is restless and postpones his wedding to Isabel, as well as his job working as a stockbroker for Gray’s father. Larry tells Isabel that he needs time to think and travels to Paris, where he lives in a garret after refusing Uncle Elliot’s financial help. Six months later, Isabel and her mother, Louisa, visit Paris. When Larry informs Isabel that he is working as a fish packer and does not plan to return to the U.S., she breaks their engagement. Insisting that she keep the ring anyway, Larry takes her back to his garret. There, Isabel reconsiders her decision and they make love. In the morning, however, Isabel flees upon waking up in squalor. Larry goes to Elliot’s apartment and learns that Isabel and her mother have gone home. Sometime later, in Lake Forest, Isabel and Gray are married. Sophie’s husband, Bob, and their young son are killed in an automobile accident. Meanwhile, in France, Larry works as a coal miner and saves the life of a colleague named MacKenzie. Noting Larry’s voracious reading, MacKenzie lends him a copy of the Upanishads, a collection of sacred Eastern philosophies, but cautions Larry that he must go to India to seek resolution to his questions. Several years later, Larry arrives in India and meets a man named Raaz, who leads him to a monastery high in the mountains. Meanwhile, in Illinois, Gray learns his father has committed suicide, after losing his fortune in the 1929 stock market crash. In India, after a period of study, a holy Lama sends Larry to a remote hut, where he reads and meditates. Following his retreat, Larry returns to Paris and runs into Elliot, who informs him that Gray and Isabel are financially ruined, and the couple is staying with him. Larry visits his friends and cures Gray’s debilitating headaches through hypnosis. Later, Larry, Gray, and Isabel go to a nightclub, where they find an intoxicated Sophie working as a prostitute for a man named Coco. Larry takes her back to his apartment and forces her into a cold shower. In the morning, he insists she help him paint the apartment. They begin a romance, and three months later, during lunch with Elliot, Isabel, and Gray, Larry announces that he and the now-sober Sophie are getting married. However, Isabel responds negatively to the news, and Sophie later accuses her friend of still being in love with Larry. Isabel challenges Sophie’s ability to make Larry happy, and leaves her alone with a bottle of alcohol. Later, Larry finds Sophie intoxicated at the apartment of her former pimp, Coco. When Sophie rejects Larry, Coco’s henchmen beat him. In the morning, two detectives take Larry to the morgue, where Sophie lays dead; she was found in the river with her throat slit. Later, Larry visits Uncle Elliot only to learn that the older man has had a stroke and is near death. Larry informs Isabel that Sophie is dead and confronts her about reintroducing the young woman to alcohol. Isabel insists that she never stopped loving Larry and wanted to protect him. When Elliot’s butler, Joseph, worries that his master will die unhappy because he was not invited to an aristocrat’s party, Larry pretends to have inadvertently received the invitation. Elliot dictates to Joseph his regrets to the hostess moments before dying. Larry bids farewell to Isabel and Gray, then informs Joseph that he is going home to America. +

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

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