The Light at the Edge of the World (1971)

THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (1971)
Article 4378 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-26-2013
Directed by Kevin Billington
Featuring Kirk Douglas, Yul Brynner, Samantha Eggar
Country: USA / Liechtenstein / Spain / Switzerland
What it is: Adventure tale

When a group of savage pirates take over a lighthouse and kill the keepers, the sole survivor finds himself having to fend for his life against them.

I’m going to start out by saying that there appears to be no fantastic content in this movie, and its appearance in the sometimes inaccurate Lentz guide isn’t backed up by its appearance in any of my other guides. It’s easy to see why the mistake was made, however; the movie is based on a novel by Jules Verne, who is mostly remembered for his works that fall within the bounds of science fiction. I will admit that this is an interesting adaptation of a Verne work; despite the fact that the premise seems to be the stuff of a straightforward adventure story, the movie attempts to take it in the realm of psychological drama, especially when the main pirate tries to lure the survivor out in the open by having a women captive pose as the survivor’s lost love. Though I will admit that the movie is interesting in what it’s trying to do, I don’t think I can quite call it successful. It often comes across as contrived, self-consciously weird and unconvincing, and I found it especially hard to believe that the survivor seems able to elude the many pirates on the island, especially as he seems to spend a great deal of time traipsing around in the open. The performances are quite good, especially from the principals, but it needs a more solid story to back it up.

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