Edge of Darkness (1943)

Edge of Darkness (1943)

“We are not animals — we are men!”

Citizens in a Nazi-occupied Norwegian fishing village respond to their situation in a variety of ways: a middle-aged doctor (Walter Huston) and his wife (Ruth Gordon) hope to allow life to proceed as usual, while their daughter (Ann Sheridan) and her beau (Errol Flynn) are deeply involved in the local Resistance movement, and their son (John Beal) is considered a “quisling” for assisting Huston’s Nazi-sympathizing brother-in-law (Charles Dingle).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Ann Sheridan Films
  • Errol Flynn Films
  • Flashback Films
  • Judith Anderson Films
  • Lewis Milestone Films
  • Nazis
  • Resistance Fighters
  • Ruth Gordon Films
  • Walter Huston Films
  • World War II

Lewis Milestone directed this Resistance film set in coastal Norway during the height of World War II — yet another reminder of how many communities were impacted by the insidious spread of Nazism across Europe.

Actually, this one hits particularly close to home for me, given that my parents were both very young children in Nazi-occupied Norway, and my grandfather could easily have been killed for harboring two Resistance fighters behind his farm. With that “insider knowledge” put on the table, there isn’t much to distinguish this from other European-based Resistance flicks of the era, given that the Hollywood casts speaks in English, and location shooting was done in Monterey, California:

— but the storyline remains an archetypically strong one, showing the various stances one could take, and how deeply impacted families were by loyalty in various directions.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Many powerfully filmed sequences

  • Atmospheric cinematography

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a one-time look.


2 thoughts on “Edge of Darkness (1943)

  1. A once-must, for its place in cinema history and as a fine, detailed representation of a Resistance movement. “From now on, every one of us must be a leader,” says Flynn: that’s the stuff of Resistance.

    Robert Rossen’s script is often scary – and tough, Milestone’s direction is smart and thorough, and the ensemble acting is strong – Sheridan, in particular, gives one of her best performances. (You almost get the sense that the cast appreciates the importance of being part of this kind of project.)

    There’s often a steady control of dark atmospheres – and scenes are effectively kinetic when they need to be – thanks to DP Sid Hickox (who also shot ‘The Big Sleep’, ‘To Have and Have Not’, ‘White Heat’…).

    Wikipedia tells us: “The film was one of the five most requested movies by the US Army in April 1943 – the others being ‘My Friend Flicka’, ‘Hit Parade of 1943’, ‘Flight for Freedom’ and ‘Hello, Frisco, Hello’. ” I think it’s significant that ‘EOD’ was one of the five.

  2. Like it very much so feel it is a must-see. A gripping story with a stellar cast. And one of the most memorable film openings I’ve ever seen – the German patrol boat coming into the occupied Norwegian coastal town, only to find the village deserted and full of dead bodies!
    And so interesting you have a family history connection.

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