Razor's Edge, The (1946)

The Razor's Edge (1946), directed by Edmund Goulding.

After WW1, a man cannot settle down but must seek the meaning of life.

The film is partly spiritual quest and partly soap opera. It was a prestige film of that year with a large number of lavish sets and hundreds of extras for the crowd and ballroom scenes.

Sadly, it lacks passion and intensity. The major problems:

The really good scenes all feature Gene Tierney: exotic beauty, powerful but controlled sexuality, malicious intellect. Even though married, she is still infatuated with a former fiancé and no other woman can have him. In a terribly evil moment she pushes a friend back into alcoholism to get her out of the way.

The best segment is a carefully plotted sex trap: she puts on the Evening Gown of Death, dances with her target all night and then leads him back to her place. He's ready, and if sex ensues then marriage will follow. But, unexpectedly, she lets him go. This is so erotic you can hear the Code squeaking in protest.

Her uncle has been watching and critiques her performance. This is the acidic, exquisitely bitchy Clifton Webb, together again with Tierney after Laura (1944).

Misc notes:

Alfred Newman score.

Available on Blu-ray.

The commentary track has long silent stretches, but gossipy interest now and then. For example: director Goulding was bisexual and had drug parties and orgies of what you might call "both kinds". He had to be sent out of the country to cool down now and then.