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Edge Of Eternity

    Ian Jane

  • Edge Of Eternity

    Released by: Twilight Time Releasing
    Released on: February 14th, 2017.
    Director: Don Siegel
    Cast: Cornel Wile, Jack Elam, Edgar Buchanan, Victoria Shaw, Mickey Shaughnessy
    Year: 1959
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    The Movie:

    Deftly directed by Don Siegel and highlighted by some amazing set pieces and a really strong cast, 1959's Edge Of Eternity begins with a fantastic sequence showing off a plane ride high above The Grand Canyon. Shortly thereafter we see a man in a fancy suit spying through some binoculars. This ties into a fight that happens next as a second man attacks the man in the suit. It doesn't go well, the assailant is shortly tossed over the cliff, presumably to his death. From there we cut to the interior of a cabin. That guy in the suit? He's tied up and hung from the rafters - he's also very dead.

    Deputy Les Martin (Cornel Wilde) is on the case, alerted to the events by a quirky old guy named Eli (Tom Fadden), the only witness to the crime. He's not in too much of a hurry but he starts going about his business and trying to figure out just what exactly happened here. He's also clearly got the hots for a pretty blonde named Janice Kendon (Victoria Shaw) who he recently wrote up for speeding. As he works the case he comes into contact with a few different oddball characters, and eventually, with some help from Janice, Martin realizes that there really is something to Eli's story - and it just might have something to do with the old gold mine on the outskirts of town.

    This one is a lot of fun, a classic adventure film that's paced right and beautifully shot. Siegel took his crew out on location for this one, and pretty much the entirety of the film is shot in and around The Grand Canyon and various Arizona locales. This gives the movie a gritty, dusty authenticity that absolutely works in its favor. Highlighted by a fairly famous finale that takes place atop a cable car hanging over the Canyon itself, this is one of those films where the locations really do make a huge difference in the picture's effectiveness.

    That's not to say that the performances aren't on par, however. Cornel Wilde makes for a fine leading man in this picture. We know he doesn't really believe Eli at first, the guy has a tendency to exaggerate more than a little bit, and you can't blame him for being more interested in Janice. However, once the reality of the situation starts to sit in it's interesting to see the shift that Wilde's character undergoes, particularly once he realizes that he's dealing with a very real danger. Wilde is very good here - believable, tough, and even slightly cool. Pretty Victoria Shaw is good as the female lead too. We like her, she's a little playful and quirky enough to make us take notice. Of course, there are a lot of great character actors in here too, most of them popping up in the film's middle stretch where the sheriff is out and about, trying to gather evidence and what not. Look for appearances from Edgar Buchanan as a local sheriff and a scene stealing Jack Elam as a cable car operator.

    Between the ridiculous tense opening and equally exiting finale, Siegel takes his time building character and mystery. You could argue that this slows the pace of the movie but the picture is all the better for it. The more interest we take in the film's inhabitants the more interesting it is to watch, and the fact that it looks as good as it does in Edge Of Eternity makes it a pleasure.


    The Edge Of Eternity debuts on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. Detail is nice throughout, as is color reproduction, while black levels remain pretty strong from start to finish. There's good texture here and the picture is consistently clean, showing very little in the way of actual print damage while retaining a nice, natural amount of film grain. There are no problems with any compression artifacts and the image is free of noise reduction. Top notch, really, the image quality here is very strong.

    The only audio option for the film is the original English language Mono track, presented in DTS-HD format with optional subtitles available in English only. Again, no problems here to note at all. Dialogue is clean, clear and always easy to follow while the score sounds quite powerful. Range is occasionally a bit limited by the source material, understandably so, but all in all, things sound just fine here.

    The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary with Film Historians C. Courtney Joyner and Nick Redman. These guys clearly have a lot of affection for this picture as they dissect the plot points and the different character motivations all while delivering some interesting anecdotes about those who made the film. There's lots of talk about Siegel's directing style, the different cast members - leading players and supporting parts alike - that populate the film and some interesting observations made about the locations, the cinematography and the score. This is thorough, smart and genuinely interesting.

    Aside from that we get the film's isolated score in DTS-HD format, menus and chapter selection. Also included inside the case is an insert booklet of liner notes from Twilight Time's essayist in chief, Julie Kirgo.

    The Final Word:

    Edge Of Eternity is high adventure in the grand Hollywood tradition. Great photography, awesome performances and plenty of excitement make this one a joy to watch and Twilight Time's Blu-ray release offers up the film in great shape highlighted by an interesting commentary track as its main supplement.

    Click on the image below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

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