The Edge of the World

Synopsis: A trio wanders the cliffs of an Outer Hebridean island and encounters a gravestone at the edge of a precipice; it reads, "Peter Manson ... gone over." One man in the trio knows the story of the gravestone and tells it to the others... It is ten years earlier, and the way of life on the island is dying; steam trawlers from the mainland threaten its survival as a fishing port. Peter Manson, one of the community's leaders, resists evacuating to the mainland, though his son Robbie is about to leave the island himself. Meanwhile, Robbie's twin sister plans to marry his best friend, Andrew Gray. Andrew and Robbie argue over evacuation and decide to settle the matter by racing to the top of a cliff. Ruth is terrified: she may lose them both. The race ends in tragedy, which tears apart the families of Manson and Gray. Times passes and Ruth reveals she is pregnant with an illegitimate child. This promises to bring the two families back together, but not before desperation hits the islanders. Ev
Director(s): Michael Powell
Production: British Film Institute
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
74 min

Sing in hope and sing we merrily

Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

Through this pure

and cruel experience

Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

The waves on yonder shore

Have come, have come from

the far-off seas

Rising, turning, waves are churning

Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

Rising, turning, waves are churning

Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

Stand by, we're putting in.

Mr Graham, sir, I would not advise

more than a temporary visit.

Oh, I think we'll risk it.

It looks deserted.

Yes. Funny, doesn't say anything

about it here.

Your book was right

when it was published, Mr Graham.

But you were wrong when you said

nothing changes on these islands.

There's not a living soul now

on Hirta.

The sea birds were its first owners

and now the sea birds

have it for their own again.

Hirta's the old name for the island,

isn't it?

(Mr Graham) Do you know

what it means, Andrew?

It means... death.

Got it.


Send the boat back!

(Faint voice) Andrew Gray...

Does it mean gone over there?

Many died that way, hunting for eggs

or after the sheep.

Sooner or later a rope frayed

or a foot slipped.

It became a word for death

on the island.

- It's a nasty-Iooking place.

- Aye. It is.

- What's wrong, Andrew?

- The hills of Scotland.

It's a rare thing

to see them from Hirta.

- The old men used to say...

- What?

That it meant bad luck

to see the hills.

And it's true.

I've only seen them once before.

There were three of us then...

It's the Sabbath today.

And a fine summer morning.

Ten years ago, you'd have seen all

the folk on their way to the kirk.

The men in black,

and the women neat and bonny,

and young John Eisbister

standing by the gate.

The bell would be ringing.

(Bell continues to ring)

- You better hurry!

- Aye! I will, I will!

There, Mother.

The sunshine

will do your rheumatism good.

And you'll hear the singing fine.

We'll sing extra loud, Grandmother.

At least, Father and I will.

I canna answer for Robbie.

I could drown your treble before I

left and I still have the same lungs.

And the same good opinion

of yourself!


(Bell continues to ring)

- Good morning, John.

- Morning, Robbie.

- Good morning.

- Good morning.

You needna grin all over your face

every time you see Andrew Gray.

Morning, Andrew.

See the bonny dress Robbie's brought

me? All the way back from Aberdeen!

- Oh-ho. Silk.

- Aye. Makes me feel awful sinful.

If you talk like that,

I'll take it back.

You try and get it!

Will you sit by me in the kirk, Ruth?

And me in a silk dress?

Do you not think people will talk?

- Good morning, Peter.

- Good morning, James.

I'm glad to see that Robbie's back.

We'll need his help with the fishing.

I was thinking he'd be more useful

with the sheep running.

As postmaster

and captain of the boat,

I have a better eye

to our finances than you.

I would remind ye I am responsible

to the laird for the sheep.

I need no reminder. I found the

market for our tweeds in Edinburgh.

- Nobody's denying it, man.

- And as the elder of the kirk...

You may have noticed, James Gray,

that the bell has stopped ringing,

and you're delaying us all with this

godless discussion on the Sabbath.

...the power and the glory,

for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us worship the Lord by singing

to his praise in Psalm number 23.


The Lord's my shepherd

I'll not want

He makes me down to lie.

- (Tuning fork hums)

- La, la... la-la.

(AII sing) The Lord's my shepherd

I'll not want

He makes me down to lie

In pastures green he leadeth me

The quiet waters by.

In pastures green

He leadeth me

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Michael Powell

Michael Latham Powell (30 September 1905 – 19 February 1990) was an English film director, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger. Through their production company "The Archers", they together wrote, produced and directed a series of classic British films, notably 49th Parallel (1941), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), A Matter of Life and Death (1946, also called Stairway to Heaven), Black Narcissus (1947), The Red Shoes (1948), and The Tales of Hoffmann (1951). His later controversial 1960 film Peeping Tom, while today considered a classic, and a contender as the first "slasher", was so vilified on first release that his career was seriously damaged.Many film-makers such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and George A. Romero have cited Powell as an influence. In 1981, he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award along with his partner Pressburger, the highest honour the British Film Academy can give a filmmaker. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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