“Byrum at the helm of Columbia’s $12m ‘Razor’s Edge’ production”

Published -October 29th 1983

Photograph by Barry Peake

Colin Vaines talks to John Byrum, director of the new version of W Somerset Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge”

IT IS THE lingering memory of the horrors of the First World War that causes Larry Darrell, hero of W Somerset Maugham’s “The Razor’s Edge”, to give up the security of post-war America and set off on a spiritual and philosophical quest for some meaning in life.

In a field in south-west England recently, those horrors were being recreated on an appallingly realistic depiction of a World War One battleground for Columbia’s new version of the Maugham novel.

Produced by Harry Benn and Bob Marcucci, with Rob Cohen as executive producer, “The Razor’s Edge” is directed by John Byrum, whose previous two films were “Inserts” and “Heart Beat”.

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Profile: Sophie McDonald

“When I began acting, I had a vague idea that I only wanted to do things that meant something to me and that had a certain standard to them. I find that I usually have a year or two between movies. If something good comes along, that’s great. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

Being selective has paid off for Theresa Russell, who stars with Bill Murray in Columbia Pictures’ “The Razor’s Edge,” directed by John Byrum. After four previous screen roles, Russell now plays Sophie, one of Larry Darrell’s closest childhood friends who meets up with him years later in Paris after both have undergone some major personal changes.

Theresa Russell as Sophie McDonald

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Profile: Gray Maturin

During filming of Columbia Pictures’ “The Razor’s Edge, actor James Keach was on the set every day -even on his
days off. The delights of such beautiful cities as Paris and London could not keep him away from the set.

James Keach as Gray Maturin

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Profile: Elliot Templeton

“I always look for the weak parts in any character I’m asked to play. I try to find out what he’s frightened of to justify what he covers up. There’s always a seed there. The trick is to find it.”

Denholm Elliott, accomplished actor and veteran of over 70 films, stars as the eccentric Elliot Templeton in Columbia Pictures’ “The Razor’s Edge”

Denholm Elliot as Elliot Templeton in The Razor's Edge

Denholm Elliot as Elliot Templeton

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Bill Murray on ‘Razor’s Edge after ‘Ghostbusters’

Victoria Advocate

Article by Dale Pollock

Published – October 29th 1984

Google News link

BEVERLY HILLS. Calif. – There’s little doubt of Bill Murray’s appeal after “Ghostbusters” this year’s megahit comedy with ticket sales to date of $210 million.

Columbia Pictures is curious whether Murray’s drawing power will extend to “The Razor’s Edge”, the actor’s first dramatic vehicle, after five previous comedies. The studio agreed to put the film into production only after Murray committed to doing “Ghostbusters”.

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Ghost of a chance: Developing The Razor’s Edge

Developing the Razor's Edge

In the mid-late 70s, Director, John Byrum was keen to make a film about ex-patriates in Europe.

At the same time, he was keen to work on a project with Saturday Night Live star and old friend, Bill Murray. John had sent a number of scripts to Bill but had received no interest.

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People Magazine – 5th November 1984

This is the article that confirms the rumors that Bill Murray’s on-screen speech to his dead superior, Piedmont (Played by Brian Doyle-Murray) were words he had already spoken about recently departed friend, John Belushi.

Bill Murray’s Film Farewell to Belushi

‘He was a slob. Did you ever see him eat? Starving children could fill their bellies on the food that ended up on his beard and clothes. Dogs would gather to watch him eat. I never understood gluttony, but I hated it…I hated that about you. He enjoyed disgusting people—being disgusting—that thrill of offending people and making them uncomfortable. He was despicable. He will not be missed.’

People Magazine 1984

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Bill Murray: Cosmopolitan interview, December 1984

This is an extract from an interview Bill Murray gave to Cosmopolitan Magazine in December 1984.

Bill Murray: More than just a Funnyman

Report by Chris Chase. Main photo by Dilip Mehta

“I wanted to do something different,” he says. “I didn’t think it was going to be such a big deal.” (Bill Murray)

Rob Cohen, executive producer of The Razor’s Edge, says that the story (based on a Somerset Maugham novel) “is about someone looking for values, asking, ‘is there a meaning to life?’. It seems at first that this is a bizarre thing for Bill Murray to be doing, but I think he has a specialness that has made him a wealthy man and a household word. And any comedic talent has to be somewhat bizarre, only because it sees life from an oblique angle.”

Cosmopolitan Magazine, December 1984

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Lost scenes: Debauchery at Lake Forest

Bill Murray and Catherine Hicks in The Razor's Edge

Catherine Hicks and Bill Murray at the Kissing Booth in The Razor’s Edge

Before his trauma in World War 1, Larry Darrell is a carefree and mischievous character.

Early drafts of the script show a very different version of Larry . John Byrum had written a character more in tune with John Winger from Stripes. Here is a scene cut from the farewell party at Lake Forest.

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John Byrum Interview – Part 1

This interview is compiled from correspondence with the film’s Writer and Director, John Byrum.

John talks about the development of the script, the challenges of shooting in India and how he and Bill coped with the film’s critical and commercial failure.

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