Edge of Darkness (1943)

118 or 120 mins | Drama | 24 April 1943

Director:

Lewis Milestone

Writer:

Robert Rossen

Producer:

Henry Blanke

Cinematographer:

Sid Hickox

Editor:

David Weisbart

Production Designer:

Robert Haas

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

A working title of the film was Norway in Revolt. The NYT review notes that this was one of several films about the Norweigan resistance made around this time. Others include the 1942 film The Commandos Have Landed, and First Comes Courage and Commandos Strike at Dawn, both released in 1943. HR news items add the following information about the production: Warner Bros. paid $30,000 for the rights to William Woods's novel. Army and Navy officials gave permission to film in Del Monte, CA, a restricted military area surrounding the Monterey Presidio. Other scenes were shot in Monterey Bay, CA, at Cannery Row in Monterey, in the Del Monte forest and in coves near Cypress Point. According to a 27 Sep 1942 NYT article, the studio used two piers in Monterey and a fleet of local fishing boats.
       Other HR news items add that a new type of zoom lens was built especially for this film. It employed variable focal lengths which enabled the camera operator to change constantly from long shots to extreme closeups without moving the camera itself. This lens was used to photograph the battle scenes from across high gullies and allowed the distance shots to be easily interspersed with closeups of the action. A press release included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library reports that Hans Stesness, the minister of St. Olav's Church for Norwegian Seamen near the Los Angeles harbor, acted as the technical director of the church scenes in the film and lent a ...

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A working title of the film was Norway in Revolt. The NYT review notes that this was one of several films about the Norweigan resistance made around this time. Others include the 1942 film The Commandos Have Landed, and First Comes Courage and Commandos Strike at Dawn, both released in 1943. HR news items add the following information about the production: Warner Bros. paid $30,000 for the rights to William Woods's novel. Army and Navy officials gave permission to film in Del Monte, CA, a restricted military area surrounding the Monterey Presidio. Other scenes were shot in Monterey Bay, CA, at Cannery Row in Monterey, in the Del Monte forest and in coves near Cypress Point. According to a 27 Sep 1942 NYT article, the studio used two piers in Monterey and a fleet of local fishing boats.
       Other HR news items add that a new type of zoom lens was built especially for this film. It employed variable focal lengths which enabled the camera operator to change constantly from long shots to extreme closeups without moving the camera itself. This lens was used to photograph the battle scenes from across high gullies and allowed the distance shots to be easily interspersed with closeups of the action. A press release included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library reports that Hans Stesness, the minister of St. Olav's Church for Norwegian Seamen near the Los Angeles harbor, acted as the technical director of the church scenes in the film and lent a robe to Richard Fraser, who acted the role of the village pastor. The Argentine government refused the film an exhibition permit, claiming that the film would compromise the country's neutrality.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Apr 1943
p. 146
Box Office
27 Mar 1943
---
Daily Variety
23 May 1943
p. 3
Film Daily
23 Mar 1943
p. 13
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1942
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
18 Aug 1942
p. 13
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 1942
p. 4
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 1943
p. 14
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 1943
p. 3, 6
Hollywood Reporter
12 Apr 1943
p. 6
Hollywood Reporter
27 Sep 1943
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald
27 Mar 1943
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 Oct 1942
p. 982
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Mar 1943
p. 1225
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Jun 1943
p. 1392
New York Times
27 Sep 1942
---
New York Times
10 Apr 1943
p. 12
Variety
24 Mar 1943
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
BRAND NAME
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Robert M. Haas
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Leon Raab
Orch arr
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Mont
Spec eff dir
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Gerard Lambert
Tech adv
Tech adv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Edge of Darkness by William Woods (Philadephia, PA, 1942).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Norway in Revolt
Release Date:
24 April 1943
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 9 Apr 1943
Production Date:
6 Aug--late Nov 1942
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
24 April 1943
LP11994
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
118 or 120
Length(in feet):
10,729
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

In October 1942, a Nazi plane spots a Norwegian flag flying over the German-occupied fishing village of Trollness. On investigation, the Nazis discover that the entire Nazi garrison has been killed and the commander, Captain Koenig, is discovered in his office, shot through the head. The streets, which are filled with bodies, are apparently empty. The only living person found is insane and the Nazis quickly execute him. Before the deaths, the villagers quietly resisted their Nazi occupiers: The resistance movement is led by a group of people including Gerd Bjarnesen, the owner of the hotel, whose father was killed by the Nazis; Gunnar Brogge, the head of the fishermen's union; and his fiancée, Karen Stensgard, the daughter of the town's doctor, Martin. Gunnar is planning to escape to England to join the resistance there, but before he can leave, a wounded man from a nearby village brings news that the English are delivering guns to the Norwegian underground in preparation for a unified revolt against the Nazis. The following day, Karen learns that her brother Johann, a Nazi collaborator, is coming home, and she begs her father to keep him away. Later, there is a meeting in the church to decide if those sympathetic to the resistance movement will join in fighting the Germans. Pastor Aalesen is opposed to the plan, believing that murder is wrong no matter why it is done. Stensgard is also unsure about the planned action, but the villagers vote to accept the guns and attack the Germans. Karen, Gerd and Gunnar take turns waiting for the British to deliver the weapons. After they arrive, Karen warns ...

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In October 1942, a Nazi plane spots a Norwegian flag flying over the German-occupied fishing village of Trollness. On investigation, the Nazis discover that the entire Nazi garrison has been killed and the commander, Captain Koenig, is discovered in his office, shot through the head. The streets, which are filled with bodies, are apparently empty. The only living person found is insane and the Nazis quickly execute him. Before the deaths, the villagers quietly resisted their Nazi occupiers: The resistance movement is led by a group of people including Gerd Bjarnesen, the owner of the hotel, whose father was killed by the Nazis; Gunnar Brogge, the head of the fishermen's union; and his fiancée, Karen Stensgard, the daughter of the town's doctor, Martin. Gunnar is planning to escape to England to join the resistance there, but before he can leave, a wounded man from a nearby village brings news that the English are delivering guns to the Norwegian underground in preparation for a unified revolt against the Nazis. The following day, Karen learns that her brother Johann, a Nazi collaborator, is coming home, and she begs her father to keep him away. Later, there is a meeting in the church to decide if those sympathetic to the resistance movement will join in fighting the Germans. Pastor Aalesen is opposed to the plan, believing that murder is wrong no matter why it is done. Stensgard is also unsure about the planned action, but the villagers vote to accept the guns and attack the Germans. Karen, Gerd and Gunnar take turns waiting for the British to deliver the weapons. After they arrive, Karen warns the other resistance workers that her brother may betray them if they are not careful. While they are hiding the weapons, someone accidentally drops an English flashlight. Koenig's men find it and, suspecting that the village is up to something, Koenig confiscates all the fishing boats, hoping this will prevent the villagers from earning a living and force them to divulge their plans. Johann's uncle, Kaspar Togersen, the owner of a fish canning factory, pressures Johann to betray the plotters, and somewhat reluctantly, Johann questions the simple-minded shopkeeper, only to receive false information. The Nazis increase pressure on the townspeople, who have been asked not to take action until the British can arm the entire Norwegian coast. When Koenig tries to confiscate the home of Sixtus Andresen, the schoolteacher, Andresen resists and is beaten by the soldiers, who also burn his belongings. Although the townspeople are extremely angry, they refrain from attacking, but when Karen is raped by a German soldier, Stensgard is driven to murder. In revenge, Koenig decides to execute all the leaders of the resistance. The Germans force the group to dig their own graves, but before they can carry out the executions, the villagers finally can take no more and march on the square. Even the pastor opens fire from the church. The villagers fight through to the harbor and load the women and children on boats headed for England. They continue to battle the Germans at great cost to themselves. Finally cornered in the last remaining German stronghold, Koenig writes a note and kills himself. Even as the Nazi soldier reports that no one is left alive, another soldier is shot while lowering the Norwegian flag. Karen, Gunnar and the surviving villagers decide to stay to defend their town.

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

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