Category Archives: Press and publicity

Press and Publicity for The Razor’s Edge

“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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Filed under Magazine articles, Press and publicity

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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Filed under Cast, Characters, Interviews

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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Filed under Magazine articles, Press and publicity

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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Filed under Magazine articles, Press and publicity, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Magazine articles, Press and publicity

TV Trailers: Selling ‘Serious’

Columbia Pictures were clearly unsure how to market The Razor’s Edge to an audience still in love with Ghostbusters.

Bill Murray also seemed to be playing down the serious subject matter in some of his promotional interviews. Continue reading

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Filed under Press and publicity, Release and aftermath, Trailers

Bill Murray: The Rolling Stone Interview

Rolling Stone Magazine, 16th August 1984

Rolling Stone’s interview with Bill Murray gives the most detailed insight into the making of The Razor’s Edge. Particular focus is given to the location shooting in Srinagar and Ladakh, India in the summer/autumn of 1983.

Rolling Stone Magazine - August 1984

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Filed under Magazine articles, Press and publicity

A Razor’s Reflection by Jesse James Schroeder

“You should see it. It has that funny guy in it but it’s not a funny movie.”

I can still hear my father’s enthusiastic movie recommendation insomuch I remember making a mental note of the film’s title as I headed off to bed that night; never suspecting Dad would pass away just three months later.

Jesse's study

The film was the 1984 re-make of The Razor’s Edge starring Bill Murray and only recently was I finally motivated to see the movie my father praised so long ago.

Unlike my father’s endorsement, the film was roundly panned by critics and ultimately failed at the box office. However when reading online reviews from moviegoers now, I see it highly rated with many stating this was “their favorite film” and others even commenting it “changed their life.”

My personal appreciation came from how I was drawn into the deep contrasting layers of the story and understood how aspects of this drama could resonate deeply to audiences’ own life experiences. (But I must admit the first time Bill Murray appears on screen, I briefly thought, “Stripes meets Sergeant York”.)

The storyline begins on July 4th, 1917 with two Americans, Larry Darrell (Murray) and Gray Maturin volunteering into WWI. For baby boomers like myself, these characters could represent our own grandfathers then heading off to Europe.

The film covers a span of about 15 years and encompasses such subjects as the stock market crash of 1929, the subsequent Depression, alcoholism, post traumatic stress and spiritual enlightenment. As the years pass, a reoccurring backdrop of climbing stairs and mountains are used metaphorically to illustrate the quest for higher learning and the ability to move on from life’s challenges.

But more importantly, it’s a film about second chances and the capacity of saving someone’s life mentally, spiritually as well as physically. In a pivotal early scene, Larry’s perspective on life is altered forever when he is saved by his commanding officer during a battlefield ambush. Years later we see Larry saving a fellow coalminer from a runway cart; saves former comrade Gray from a suicidal depression and lastly saves a jilted aristocrat wannabe from dying in sadness. However the one person Larry wants to save the most, he ironically cannot.

Production wise, the movie was shot on location in Paris and India which cinematographically is an upgrade over the 1946 version. The cast’s performances are solid but it is the role of Sophie by Theresa Russell that should have been Oscar worthy. The musical score by Jack Nitzsche will inspire goose bumps you might have thought disappeared from within.

Two years before ever seeing The Razor’s Edge, I experienced moments of time alone in my backyard shed, “to think”. I had the joy and anxiety of being a first time father at 48, but seven months later, I was dealt with my ex-wife’s death from cancer; six months later the death of my mother. Reflecting back on these two losses, I realized I was searching in my isolation for answers that simply did not exist.

Thus, it hit home for me when Larry upon returning from war, tells fiancée Isabel he needs time to “think”. Years later, Larry is seen sitting alone in a shed-like hut in the mountains of Tibet sorting out for himself, “life’s meaning.” ` These scenes connected to an acceptance of my life and I have fancied the thought that my father was foreshadowing a path of guidance. As far fetched as that seems, I no longer feel the need to visit my shed, “to think”.

Recently I again thought of Larry Darrell when he explains to Isabel the purpose of his life, “I found out there’s another debt to pay, for the privilege of being alive.” Last year, my fiancée faced and endured the physical side effects of precautionary chemo for early stage breast cancer. I saw the “debt” she paid to ensure a full recovery and that early detection gave her, that second chance.

The film concludes at Isabel’s home in Paris, where Larry announces he is going “home.” When asked, where home is, he replies patriotically, “America”. Larry is last seen slowly climbing – then running up the Montmartre stairs and into his future, a changed man with his second chance at life.

As for my life, I know I will never sit in a wooden hut in the Tibetan Mountains to comprehend its meaning. But if I did, I’ll know the reasons why.

Jesse James Schroeder

East Setauket, New York
USA

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