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Friday, December 17, 2010

STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies


Tyrone Power's return from active duty in World War II provided the impetus for filming the most expensive picture Twentieth Century Fox had ever produced, W. Somerset Maugham's THE RAZOR'S EDGE, directed by Edmund Goulding, with Gene Tierney, John Payne, Clifton Webb and in an Oscar winning performance Anne Baxter. No expense was spared in this tale of a man who returns from the Great War and finds himself disillusioned with the world he supposed to live in and his eventual quest for spirituality. Tierney and Power made an exciting love team and Webb and Baxter were perfectly cast. Gorgeously shot by cinematographer Arthur Miller, beautifully scored by Alfred Newman and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck himself, it was nominated for multiple Oscars including Best Picture and is a prime example of Hollywood at it's sumptuous best.

- Maugham wrote a screenplay for the Razor's Edge, which Zanuck scrapped in favor of a version by Lamarr Trotti.
- George Cukor was supposed to direct, but resigned when Zanuck vetoed Maugham's version.
- Betty Grable was in line to play Sophie, but was too afraid.
- Zanuck didn't think Anne Baxter sexy enough to play Sophie. She conspired w/friend Gregory Ratoff who told Zanuck he'd slept w/ her.
- Anne Baxter lost her Oscar when she moved to Australia in the 60's to live in the Out Back.
- Clifton Webb lived with his mother Maybelle throughout his entire life.
- Power only agreed to make THE RAZOR'S EDGE if Zanuck agreed to him be in NIGHTMARE ALLEY.
- The critics didn't care for Gene Tierney in THE RAZOR'S EDGE. As a result, Zanuck lost interest in her.
- Clifton Webb had known the man that his character Elliott Templeton was based on.
- This was the second time Herbert Marshall had played W. Somerset Maugham on screen.
- Lucile Watson lived in the smallest, complete brownstone in Manhattan.
- Although Gene Tierney & Oleg Cassini were divorcing, she insisted he do her wardrobe. Zanuck hated him.


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