Mark Robson – Edge of Doom (1950)

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Martin Lynn (Farley Granger) has crossed his breaking point. Poor, stuck in a menial job and mourning his recently deceased, devoutly Catholic mother, the mentally fraying youth visits his local pastor to arrange a decent funeral for her and, in a frustrated rage, kills the cleric with a crucifix. On the run in a clouded haze, Martin slips into the night and anxiously watches as circumstances result in someone else being arrested for the crime. But the empathetic Father Roth (Dana Andrews), inquiring into the incident, sees something suspect in Martin – as well as a soul worth saving. The only crime drama produced by Samuel Goldwyn, this under-recognized film-noir thriller with a unique religious twist is powered by a searingly intense performance by Granger as a man undone by unforgiving forces closing in on him. Directed with clockwork urgency by Mark Robson, shot in shimmering black-and-white by Harry Stradling and named one of 1950’s 10-best films by the National Board of Review, Edge of Doom is a haunting vision of darkness not easily shaken. Continue reading

Mark Robson – The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955)

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A powerful study of courage in the face of irrational odds, The Bridges at Toko-Ri (based on James Michener’s novel) is no less patriotic than many other war films, but it dispenses with gung-ho bluster to focus instead on the very real and tragic consequences of war. This is also one of the first films to openly criticize the morality of the Korean War while praising the honor and integrity of the men who fought it. Lt. Harry Brubaker (William Holden) is one of those men, with one difference: A lawyer with a loving wife (Grace Kelly) and two young daughters, he’s been recalled to duty from the Navy Reserve, and reluctantly accepts his mission to fly with a bomber-jet squadron over one of the Communists’ most heavily protected targets–the strategically vital bridges in the Korean canyon of Toko-Ri. Continue reading