Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Jules Verne would disown "The Light at the Edge"

Cleveland Press August 14, 1971

"The Light at the Edge of the World" is an action-adventure movie without enough action or adventure.

This is said to be based on a Jules Verne novel, not one, however, that is familiar to me. Encyclopedia references don't list it, indicating that it is probably a lesser Verne novel. But even a lesser Verne novel is better than the potboiler screenplay offered here.

In addition to there being a writer credited for a screenplay, there is another listed for additional dialog and still another for additional ideas. Dialog and ideas being among the things lacking in this movie, both were overpaid no matter what they received.

KIRK DOUGLAS, his teeth still flashing brightly over his cleft chin is an assistant lighthouse keeper on a remote island in 1865.

The place is invaded by a strange ship whose happy cut throats lop off the lighthouse keeper's head and then murder the other assistant, leaving Douglas to run like crazy all over the place.

Yul Brynner is the head of the pirate bunch and his face keeps breaking into what is supposed to be an enigmatic smile.

The rest of his crew laugh and grin a lot, especially when they have a chance to hack away at people with swords, clubs and big knives.

This bunch is dressed a little bit like South American Indians and a little bit like I don't know what. They grunt a lot and make strange noises. Is this the additional dialog?

The idea is to knock out the lighthouse and set up a phony beacon on another part of the island, thus luring passing ships onto the water and chop up the survivors.

SAMANTHA EGGER is on a ship that goes down but she isn1t chopped up because she gets star billing and the simple-minded plot needs a complication. The complication is so complicated that it does nothing to help the movie -- just stretches it out to two hours.

Douglas not only gets billing over Yul Brynner's name he also produced the movie, so there's no point in wondering how it all comes out.