Edge of Fury

June 12, 2012 at 1:51 am (6 Heads, Edge of Fury) (, , )

Edge of Fury – 1958 – United States

Made in 1953 and released in 1958, Edge of Fury is an obscure psychological crime drama. After a disturbed veteran is ejected from a mental hospital for financial reasons, he befriends an old widow. He convinces her to rent him a seaside cottage and moves in with the widow and her lovely daughters. The older daughter ridicules him, but the younger daughter falls for him. He responds violently to their attentions, frustrated by his own sexual urges. He fantasizes about an impossibly idyllic family life with the three women. The women grow resentful of his overbearing personality as he becomes increasingly possessive, culminating in a murderous psychopathic episode.

Edge of Fury is a portrait of psychosis that’s both sympathetic and exploitative. As the veteran’s stability falters, a psychiatrist narrator supplies insights about his case. The veteran alternates between childlike innocence and volatile aggression, not unlike Norman Bates in Psycho (1960). In a memorable scene, he redraws a portrait he painted of the widow, making her withered and hideously ugly. In another, he grinds his foot into a jellyfish until it stings him unconscious.

Edge of Fury’s bleakness is heightened by elegantly composed shots and stark seaside locations. The camerawork is stylish and occasionally inventive. The camera seesaws wildly during a rampage, and the final murder is presented in a series of extreme close-ups. Only Edge of Fury’s simplicity betrays its threadbare budget, but like the best film noir, its austere cheapness enhances its believability. Edge of Fury is gripping and provocative.

Rating: 6/10 Shrunken Heads. Dig this highly alliterated tagline: “The screen is stunned by its strangest story of violence!”


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