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THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

Director: MICHAEL POWELL

81 minutes| Black and White| D-Cinema


By 1937, Powell had been working in British cinema for ten years: in minor capacities for Hitchcock, and then as director of low-budget ‘quota quickies’, films made in response to legislation that countered Hollywood dominance by forcing cinemas to show a set quota of British films. Having served this apprenticeship, Powell set up an astoundingly bold independent production, shot entirely on location: the remote Scottish island of Foula stands in for the unavailable St. Kilda, whose abandonment by its inhabitants in the early 1930s the film dramatises. In A Life in Movies, Powell wrote of his deep distrust of the pretensions of British documentary cinema, and there is a big gulf between, say, Man of Aran and The Edge of the World, which has a robust dramatic structure based on conflicts within and between families. The succes d’estime of the film, combined with Powell’s book about its production, led to a contract with Alexander Korda . . . and thence to Pressburger.

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