Saturday, October 27, 2007

Materialism and The Razor's Edge

from The Secret Life of Tyrone Power by Hector Arce

The studio boasted that a record one hundred shooting days were spent on the production: its budget $4.000.000 including $250,000 for the screen rights to [Somerset] Maugham's book. It built eighty-nine sets costing $641,800 and gathered $800,000 worth of props to be used, including so much silver for a wedding scene that two Pinkerton men were hired to guard it during the filming. A single love scene between Ty [Power] and Gene Tierney cost $121,000, the studio proudly proclaimed. For the first time since the days of silent films, an orchestra was engaged to play on the set during rehearsals, to get the stars into the proper mood. The love scene was accompanied by Strauss waltzes; Clifton Webb died to funeral airs.
Overlooked was the contradiction in all this, the concerns for sumptuous settings in a film about irrelevance of materialism.


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