You know what I appreciate most about the classic movie era? The 80 minute movie. I love me a less than 2 hour — hell — hour-and-a-half movie. Doesn’t waste time. Story in, story out, and done. Almost nothing beats some of those Universal “Time-is-money” B-pictures from the ‘40s.
The Inner Sanctum series? Delightful.
Twilight Time recently released the 80 minute CinemaScope potboiler Edge of Eternity (1959), shot in and around the Grand Canyon, directed by Don Siegel, and starring Cornell Wilde.
Edge of Eternity takes place in a small Arizona community where the gold mines have dried up and the most valuable thing to pull from the caves is bat guano you can only get to by a cable car/bucket transport device. Added to the town’s downward spiral are a series of murders. So it’s up to the Deputy Sheriff Wilde to figure out what’s going on. But every good character has a past, and Wilde is no exception. Aware of this, the locals are hoping to use his past against him as the Sheriff (the wonderful Edgar Buchanan) is up for re-election. I won’t give away the stories rougher (and sometimes finer) points, but it’s no surprise that you’ll see what’s coming.
First, let’s get the bad out of the way. I didn’t care much for the story. I hate saying that as there really is a lot to like about Edge of Eternity. At the aforementioned 80 minute running time, the film is tight and lean, with action especially amping up the last 20 minutes. Plus, it’s the only movie (to my knowledge) with an epic fight scene on a bucket of bat-shit suspended over the Grand Canyon.
Shot by Burnett Guffey, Edge of Eternity’s cinematography is epic, as the DP uses earth tones, with sparing but effective blasts of color from leading lady Victoria Shaw’s costumes. The beautiful sequences shot in and around the Grand Canyon are truly impressive. Wide shots of the fight with stuntmen perilously dangling off the bucket are effective, incredible and real.
I have to admit, although Twilight Time’s transfers are generally excellent, they have outdone themselves with Edge of Eternity. In my mind, it’s one of the best looking Twilight Time releases I’ve seen, and one of the better looking CinemaScopes available on blu-ray. Other than a few “CinemaScope Mumps” on the extreme edge of the frame, this is a fantastic looking transfer.
Audio is a clear and sharp DTS-HD MA 1.0 track, with bonus features that include an isolated score track, and fascinating commentary by historians C. Courtney Joyner & Nick Redman.
I’d recommend Edge of Eternity to fans of director Don Siegel or anyone who just wants to see a strong 80 minute CinemaScope beauty. It may not be a feast for your brain, but it’s definitely candy for your eyes.
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