Karen (Ann Sheridan), the daughter of a prominent local doctor (Walter Huston), has joined the resistance against Nazi occupation of her small Norwegian town. She’s also in a relationship with Gunnar Brogge (Errol Flynn), the local leader of the resistance.
Unlike Karen, her parents want to remain neutral and try to live life as normally as possible. But others in town, including the doctor’s brother-in-law Kaspar (Charles Dingle), have decided to collaborate with the Nazis.
As unrest grows in the small fishing village, Gunnar, Karen, and their fellow resistance fighters begin to gain more support from the locals, hatching a plan to take back their town.
Lewis Milestone directs 1943’s Edge of Darkness. The film was written by Robert Rossen from a novel by William Woods.
Edge of Darkness focuses on the underground resistance movement in Norway, which isn’t your typical setting for a World War II flick. (They tend to focus on resistance and troop movements elsewhere in Europe, or are set in “exotic” locations like Morocco, in my viewing experience.)
The drama and action here are similar to what they’d be for any other resistance group, but the film easily held my interest, and the change in setting added a little something extra to it.
There’s a nice blend of talk and action as resistance operations are plotted and carried out. The story volleys between moments of intensity and quieter scenes of contemplation. Still, there’s a fair bit of tension and suspense throughout over the fear that the resistance plan will be found out.
Since this isn’t an on-the-battlefield war film, it instead expresses the fears and complications of war as they impact that community, often through on-screen discussion.
Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan both give good, restrained performances, contributing to the film’s success.
For fans of World War II stories, I would highly recommend Edge of Darkness for a chance to see that era from a slightly different angle. While not as well-remembered as some other portrayals of the period, it’s well worth a watch.