The Razor's Edge

Synopsis: Well-to-do Chicagoan, Larry Darrell, breaks off his engagement to Isabel and travels the world seeking enlightenment, eventually finding his guru India. Isabel marries Gray, and following the crash of 1929, is invited to live in Paris with her rich, social climbing, Uncle Elliot. During a sojurn there, Larry, having attained his goal, is reunited with Isabel. While slumming one night Larry, Isabel and company are shocked to discover Sophie, a friend from Chicago. Having lost her husband and child in a tragic accident, Sophie is living the low-life with the help of drugs and an abusive brute. Larry tries to rehabilitate her, but his efforts are sabotaged by Isabel who tries in vain to reignite Larry's interest in herself.
Genre: Drama, Romance
Director(s): Edmund Goulding
Production: Twentieth Century Fox
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
145 min

[ Man Narrating ]

This story consists of my recollections

of a very unusual young man with whom

I was thrown into contact at long intervals.

In the summer of 1919, while passing

through Chicago on my way to the Far East,

a friend of mine,

Elliott Templeton,

whom I had known

in London and Paris,

invited me to dine with him

and his sister, Mrs. Bradley.

They were giving a dinner party at

one of those sprawling country clubs,

which were so much a part

of the American scene

in the early days

of the postwar boom.

[ Orchestral Playing ]

- Good evening, sir.

- Good evening. Mr. Templeton's table?

- Yes, sir.

- Are they here?

They're having

refreshments, sir.

[Music Continues]

- Uh, here you are.

- For the dry martini, sir.

- Prohibition. Of all the bloody nonsense.

- Elliott.

Yes, dear?

Who is this man

that you asked to dinner tonight?

I had to get Sophie at the last minute,

or we would have been 13.

He's an English author. He's quite all right.

In fact he's quite famous.

So, pretend that you've heard of him,

even if you haven't.

That's too much.

Get the other glasses.

Elliott, you must be slipping

if you frequent authors.

Not at all, my dear.

Authors go everywhere nowadays.

Why, in London, I even met actors

and actresses in society.

Ah, here he is now.

My dear fellow,

how very nice to see you.

[Chuckling ] Hello, Elliott.

Let me present you to

my sister, Mrs. Bradley.

- Louisa?

-[ Laughing ]

- Louisa, dear.

- Hmm?

This is Mr. Somerset Maugham.

How do you do, Mr. Maugham?

It's an honor to have you with us.

Thank you.

It's very nice to be here.

What on earth are you doing

in this benighted city?

I'm... I'm just passing through. But you,

Elliott, I thought you never left Paris.

Why should I? In point of fact I came

to see my sister and my niece, Isabel.

- I haven't been back since before the war.

-[ Woman Giggling ]

I hope you don't mind. A few

young things are joining us for dinner.

But, uh, we can leave early.

Why should I mind? I like young things

if they're good to look at.

Incidentally, you'll meet the young man

my niece has got herself engaged to.

His name is Larry Darrell. I might as well

tell you that Elliott doesn't approve of him.

I have nothing against him,

but he hasn't any money.

My sister's not a rich woman by

any means. She needs all she's got.

- I said only this morning...

- Is it necessary for you to tell Mr. Maugham

-all our private affairs?

- We can't all be millionaires, Elliott.

- He hasn't even got a job.

- He can get one, can't he?

- He doesn't want a job.

- Why not?

Because he's bone idle.

That must shock a man like you

who's never earned a penny in his life.


It may have escaped your notice, my dear

fellow, but I am not an ordinary man.

- Cocktail?

- Oh, yes, please.

For the run of mankind,

industry is essential.

I see no reason why this young man, who

my niece has got herself engaged to

should not conform

to the customs of his country.

Ah, here's my niece now.

Oh, Mother.

- Hello, Isabel.

- Hello.

- Mr. Maugham, this is my daughter, Isabel.

- How do you do?

- Where's Larry?

- Late.

Oh, poor sweet. I suppose he forgot

to wind his watch last night as usual.

You wouldn't know

about Larry.

- Say, Mother, you've mixed up the cards.

- Oh, Sophie, dear.

Hello, Sophie.

This is Sophie Nelson.

Mr. Somerset Maugham.

- Sophie's a neighbor of ours in the country.

- How do you do?

- You look charming, Sophie.

- Yes, doesn't she?

Excuse us. Come here.

I want to have a look at you.


Sophie, you look lovely.

It's the dress. You're sure

you don't mind my wearing it?

Of course not.

If you like it, take it as a present.

Oh, Isabel, that's awfully

sweet of you.

Oh, it'd be such a surprise for Bob

to see me decently dressed for once.

Oh, you know Bob's much too much in love

with you to notice what you wear.

He's no more crazy about me

than I am about him.

[Sighs] I don't think anyone ever

loved anyone as I love him.

- Isn't it heavenly to be alive?

- Yes.

- Hi.

- Hello, Gray.

- May I break this up?

- Sure.


- You look lovely. Uh-huh.

- Think so?

- Hello, Sophie.

- Hello.

May I get you one, Miss, um...

Miss Nelson, isn't it?

- Yes, Sophie Nelson. I'd love it.

- Oh, uh...

No. I guess

I'd better not.

- Why, what's wrong with cocktails?

- Oh, nothing.

Only I promised Bob

I wouldn't.

- Who's Bob?

- My boyfriend. He doesn't like me to drink.

He thinks

I'm too fond of them.

- Which is Bob?

- Oh, he isn't here. He's working.

He's putting himself

through law school.

He's going to drop in later

and take me home.

Will you have one of these?

If my man Joseph could see me now,

- I give you my word, he'd faint dead away.

-[ Chuckles]

You're a great friend

of Mr. Templeton's, aren't you?

I wouldn't say that. Elliott

has no friends, only acquaintances.

- He's an awful snob, isn't he?

- Oh, awful.

But he's kind and generous.

People laugh at him behind his back,

but they eat his food

and drink his wine.

Oh, Mr. Maugham.

Mr. Maugham, you're next to Mother.

Sophie, you're next to Gray

at the end of the table.

- That's us, toots.

- Mr. Maugham, Mr. Maturin.

-Isabel? Dinner, my dear fellow.

- Yes?

Oh, yes.

And, uh, who's Mr. Maturin?

Oh, Gray.

He's our millionaire.

His father's a big broker,

and we're proud of him.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Lamar Trotti

Lamar Jefferson Trotti (October 18, 1900 – August 28, 1952) was an American screenwriter, producer, and motion picture executive. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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