The Book and the Movie: The Razor's Edge (1944) / W. Somerset Maugham | Edmund Goulding (1946)



The Razor’s Edge is the first film version of W. Somerset Maugham’s 1944 novel. It was released in 1946 and stars Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb, Herbert Marshall, supporting cast Lucile Watson, Frank Latimore and Elsa Lanchester. Marshall plays Somerset Maugham. The film was directed by Edmund Goulding.




"I have never begun a novel with more misgiving..."
"The man I am writing about is not famous. It may be that he never will be. It may be that when his life at last comes to an end he will leave no more trace of his sojourn on earth than a stone thrown into a river leaves on the surface of the water..."


"Sometimes a very small thing will have an effect on you out of all proportion to the event. It depends on the circumstances and your mood at the time..."


“Passion doesn’t count the cost. Pascal said that the heart has its reasons that reason takes no account of. If he meant what I think, he meant that when passion seizes the heart it invents reasons that seem not only plausible but conclusive to prove that the world is well lost for love. It convinces you that honour is well sacrificed and that shame is a cheap price to pay. Passion is destructive. It destroyed Antony and Cleopatra, Tristan and Isolde, Parnell and Kitty O’Shea. And if it doesn’t destroy it dies.” 


“Almost all the people who’ve had the most effect on me I seem to have met by chance, yet looking back it seems as though I couldn’t but have met them.”



The Day is Gone and All It’s Sweets are Gone / John Keats 


The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer breast,
Warm breath, light whisper, tender semi-tone,
Bright eyes, accomplished shape, and lang'rous waist!
Faded the flower and all its budded charms,
Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes,
Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,
Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise -
Vanished unseasonably at shut of eve,
When the dusk holiday - or holinight
Of fragrant-curtained love begins to weave
The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight;
But, as I’ve read love’s missal through to-day,
He’ll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.


"If the rose at noon has lost the beauty it had at dawn, the beauty it had then was real. Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy. We can none of us step into the same river twice, but the river flows on and the other river we step into is cool and refreshing too."

W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge, 1944


“It is very difficult to know people and I don't think one can ever really know any but one's own countrymen. For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they are born, the city apartment or the farm in which they learnt to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives' tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poets they read, and the God they believed in. It is all these things that have made them what they are, and these are the things that you can't come to know by hearsay, you can only know them if you have lived them.”

W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge, 1944

“You're beginning to dislike me, aren't you? Well, dislike me. It doesn't make any difference to me now.”



* Gene Tierney on the set of The Razor’s Edge, 1946
** Tyrone Power and Gene Tierney with director Edmund Goulding on the set of The Razor’s Edge, 1946

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