The Edge of the World (1937) Script

3 Sing in hope and sing we merrily

♪ Ho-ro, chasing the breeze J Through this pure and cruel experience

♪ Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

♪ The waves on yonder shore

♪ Have come, have come from the far-off seas

3 Rising, turning, waves are churning

♪ Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

3 Rising, turning, waves are churning

♪ Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

Stand by, we're putting in.

Mr Graham, sir, I would not advise more than a temporary visit.

Oh, I think we'll risk it.

It looks deserted.

Yes. Funny, doesn't say anything about it here.

Your book was right when it was published, Mr Graham.

But you were wrong when you said nothing changes on these islands.

There's not a living soul now on Hirta.

The sea birds were its first owners and now the sea birds have it for their own again.

Hirta's the old name for the island, isn't it?

Do you know what it means, Andrew? It means... death.

Got him.


Send the boat back.

Andrew Gray...

Does it mean gone over there?

Many died that way, hunting for eggs, or after the sheep.

Sooner or later a rope frayed or a foot slipped.

It became a word for death on the island.

It's a 'nasty-looking' place. Aye. It is.

What's wrong, Andrew? The hills of Scotland.

It's a rare thing to see them from Hirta.

The old men used to say... What?

That it meant bad luck to see the hills.

And it's true. I've only seen them once before.

There were three of us then...

It's the Sabbath today.

And a fine summer morning.

Ten years ago, you'd have seen all the folk on their way to the kirk.

The men in black, and the women neat and bonny, and young John Eisbister standing by the gate.

The bell would be ringing.

You better hurry! Aye! I will, I will!

There, Mother.

The sunshine will do your rheumatism good.

And you'll hear the singing fine.

We'll sing extra loud for you, Grandmother.

At least, Father and I will. I cannae answer for Robbie.

I could drown your treble before I left and I still have the same lungs.

And the same good opinion of yourself.


Good morning, John. Morning, Robbie.

Good morning. Good morning.

You needna grin all over your face every time you see Andrew Gray.

Morning, Andrew.

See the bonny dress Robbie's brought me? All the way back from Aberdeen.

Oh-ho. Silk. Aye. Makes me feel awful sinful.

If you talk like that, I'll take it back.

You try and get it.

Will you sit by me in the kirk, Ruth?

And me in a silk dress? Do you not think people will talk?

Good morning, Peter. Good morning, James.

I'm glad to see that Robbie's back. We'll need his help with the fishing.

I was thinking he'd be more useful with the sheep running.

As postmaster and captain of the boat, I have a better eye to our finances than you.

I would remind ye I am responsible to the laird for the sheep.

I need no reminder. I found the market for our tweeds in Edinburgh.

Nobody's denying it, man. And as the elder of the kirk...

You may have noticed, James Gray, that the bell has stopped ringing, and you're delaying us all with this godless discussion on the Sabbath.

...the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Let us worship the Lord by singing to his praise in Psalm number 23.

Tune: Wiltshire.

The Lord's my shepherd I'll not want He makes me down to lie.

3 The Lord's my shepherd

3 "I not want

♪ He makes me down to lie In pastures green he leadeth me The quiet waters by.

J In pastures green

♪ He leadeth me

3 The quiet waters by He said, "Thus sayeth the Lord, Because the Syrians have said the Lord is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hands and ye shall know that I am the Lord."

I Kings, 20:28.

Brethren, let not the heathen shame you.

The Syrians had already been defeated in battle by such an imperial force of Israelites whom they despised that they thought there was something supernatural about it, and ascribed their defeat to the God of Israel.

Now, if the Lord has brought prosperity to you or if you have enjoyed success in Christian service, take heed that you do not lift up your head on high.

For, kindred, the tendency of the human heart towards pride is very strong, but we must always remember that we are nothing more than tools in the hands of the Lord.

We have been nothing more than the scythes in the hands of God if we reap the corn, nothing more than the nets if we have brought the fish to shore.

So, let us learn from the heathen...

Sin is limiting the power of the gospel.

Some of us, at certain times, have been inclined to limit the power of the gospel by supposing that only certain sinners... supposing that only certain sinners obtain the grace of God.

Grand sermon, John.

One hour and 15 minutes. Let them beat that in Edinburgh if they can.

And mind ye, every sentence sound theology.

We'll check the lists and load the boats after the Sabbath's over.

Aye. It's high tide an hour after midnight.

Aye, that's er...very convenient.

Away you go and take a walk with Ruth.

And remember it's the Sabbath.

Behind me, Satan.

Oh, Robbie, is she really sweet?

She is, Ruth.

Then I dinna feel so bad about Andrew.

You know, I've been feeling awful guilty and all the time you've been stealing a march on me.


Polly Manson.

Mmm. I don't know whether I like it or not.

Whether you do or you don't, she's going to be your sister-in-law.

And tomorrow, Father'll know it.

When parliament meets tomorrow, I'm going to speak out.

He'll be awful angry. I'm not a child any more.

There are others who think like me, James Gray for one.

Andrew doesn't. Oh, Andrew.

And what's wrong with Andrew?

Nothing wrong with his nerve.

There'll be a deal wrong with his neck if he doesna take care.


Tell him to get down!

Get down! You're frightening Ruth!

That was a sudden idea.

It looked like it.

In the old days, you had to show your courage to win a wife.

I said to myself, "Andrew, my lad, you're as good as they are and Ruth has got to be sure of you."

Remember it's the Sabbath. That's what Father said.

And I'm no likely to forget it.

But if a man can't put his arm round his girl without John Knox turning in his grave, then the world's full of sinners.

Here's good luck for us.

We don't need any.

What were you two talking about?

You. Oh? That's natural enough.

Oh, you're not the only one.

Robbie's got a bonnet full of bees. You're one, I'm the other, but the busiest of the lot is the girl from Norway.

Robbie! I'm glad.

Why don't you bring her over?

I'm not bringing her back to Hirta, NOW Of ever.

But I hope you and she and Ruth will be good friends and... neighbours for all that.

What do you mean? Just that.

I like plain speech. Then you'll have it.

You're leaving the island? Aye.

Short-handed as we are? Aye.

Does anybody know? Only you two.

When are you going to tell Peter? Tomorrow.

The boat parliament? Aye.

Ah, Robbie, man, you've gone over to the other side.

Before I went away, I would have said the same as you.

But the world's changed, it's bigger, it's easier to get at.

Before, we were no worse off than anyone else.

Now we're living in an old world.

I've got a turn for machinery, I can do things with it.

Why should I give it up?

What can Polly and I hope for if I drag her back here?

Ah, Robbie, you're too clever for me.

You go your way and ['ll go mine.

Aye, but can't you see... That's final.

If you want to run away because the work's too hard, or your fancy...

Leave her out of it! I'd be glad to.

I'm as good a man as you. I could always beat you on the cliffs.

You're a stone lighter. Oh, that's nothing.

Do you see Wester Hoevdi?

To climb Wester Hoevdi without a rope was another of the old trials.

Well, what do you say?

Shall we make a race of it? Aye.


The hills of Scotland.

I forbid it. A mad race like this can settle nothing.

I'll not speak here of the defiance in which I've been set by my own son.

But I want you to speak of it. Our quarrel affects every man on the island.

You keep silent.

The boy's right, Peter Manson.

We're dealing with a question each one of us has got to face squarely.

It's your homes, your families and your future lives.

Am I no right?

I'm no trying to read my elders any lesson, but a man must think for himself.

For hundreds of years now, this parliament has met here every working morn.

But in a thousand years, it's never faced the problem we face today.

Year by year, the population's shrinking.

Look what happened to Mingulay and St Kilda, islands barren now that once supported people.

What happened in the Hebrides will happen here.

You canna fight against it, you canna stop it.

As I see it, It's... it's every man for himself.

That's all I have to say.

And I came back here to say it.

Well, as you all know, I'm no great hand at public speaking.

Except in kirk, John.

Thank you, James. Even then, it takes me a week to make up my sermons.

But Robbie here makes out a very good case.

And he says we can't fight it.

Can't fight? You mean you won't fight, some of ye!

Look out there.

Trawlers sweeping the sea with their nets, loading their boats with fish that belong to us island men, ruining the new spawn with their damned otter boards.

Three-mile limit. What does it mean to them?

A dint in the head with a lump of coal is all you get if you warn them off.

What's the good of it?

Restrictions, that's what we want, that's what we'll pray for.

The damn fools are ruining their own game, as well as ours.

They've swept the shore as bare as this hand, you have to steam further out, that means more coal, then where's the profit?

Fight. Man, I've fought them and the like all my life.

I've kept a roof over my croft, brought my children up decently.

And then to have you, Robbie, tell me it's each man for himself, and act as though you spoke for half the island, when you're not two days back from working for the boats that ruined us!

Three months' work and £63 to show for it!

Shillings is what I'd be showing if I'd stayed on Hirta.

Och, you're no son of mine. Don't take it so hard, Peter, man.

The boy's just said what had to be said.

Men we must have, and where are we going to get them?

Oh, this tale of Robbie's has been in my mind for a long while.

Now, if we was to petition the Government, there's little doubt we'd get free transportation and a grant o' land.

I would remind you, James Gray, that that is for the laird to decide.

And it's within my province...

We'll respect everybody. This seems a simple enough matter.

We've agreed to race to the top, and race we will.

Let the man who gets there first have the way of it.

If parliament sat for a thousand years, they wouldn't decide better.

Well, it may be so, Andrew, but I don't approve.

No, it's too risky.

Do you no think so, Peter? I can see no objection.

Well, then, down to the boats. Come on, then.

Peter. What is it?

You're letting the two boys risk certain death.

A word from you would stop this race.

I've climbed the Hoevdi three times.

But with a rope. Aye.

Don't go, either of you! It's a mad way to settle it!

It's the only way! Can't you discuss it?

We tried that. It's no good, Ruth.

You'll both be killed.

I felt it when we saw the mountains in the sky.

And the sun went in the clouds.

I'll lose you both!

And yesterday I was so happy.

There's nae time to waste. Heave away, there!

All together!

I can't stop them, Granny.

They're going to climb. They won't listen to me.

Have you chosen your route yet?

Aye. Up the east side, then straight along, up by the channel.

The old way we went egg hunting. Remember there's no rope this time.

I'm no likely to forget.

I'm for the south face, then over the Devil's Elbow.

Longer, but I'll make better time. You'll have to.

It's a grand treat for the folk. Are you ready?

When you get to the burn, take the right channel.

The left's shorter but it's no good, you'd never get back. Don't forget.

They're both good lads and they're doing fine.

Good lad, Andrew! He's out of the Devil's Elbow!

Robbie's taking the left channel! It's no possible!



I can't...

Father! That's enough!

James and Andrew of Burns, I bid you to the funeral of Robbie Manson, tomorrow, at 12.

We will come.

Jessie and Jean of Grisengarth.

I bid you to prepare for the funeral of Robbie Manson, tomorrow, at 12.

Magnus of Quenester.

I bid you to prepare for the funeral of Robbie Manson, tomorrow, at 12.

I bid you to the funeral of Robbie Manson, tomorrow, at 12.

Tomorrow, at 12...

Tomorrow, at 12...

Tomorrow, at 12...

3 Glen Lyon Lament

3 O, waly up the bank

♪ Waly doon the brae J Waly by yon riverside

♪ We were won't to gae

♪ Hovan, hovan, hovan eerie.

♪ Hovan, hovan, O.

♪ Hovan, hovan, hovan eerie.

♪ Hovan, hovan, O.

♪ Hovan, hovan, hovan eerie.

♪ Hovan, hovan, O.

♪ Hovan, hovan, hovan eerie.

♪ Hovan, hovan, O.

I love you, Andrew.

I love you, Ruth.

Father's a hard man to understand.

A hard man, you mean. No worse than you all are.

You said yourself he won't hear my name spoken since Robbie died.

You canna blame him for that. No?

Will I speak to him?

He'll never let us marry... now.

But we don't need his permission.

Do we?

You know we do.

And if he won't give it?

Then we'll just have to wait.

I've waited long enough.

We're too few to bear a grudge long.

Not a day passes that I don't cross your path or you mine.

Do you and your father want to drive me off the island?

Do you think I don't care about Robbie?

Do you think I'd forget that he was your twin brother and my best friend?

We were to be married today, Ruth.

Maybe you've forgotten that.

Oh, Ruth, I'm sorry.

James. Aye?

You'll be speaking to him?


About Peter and Andrew Gray?

Aye, I will that.

Is the laird there? I canna see him.

That's him.

Aye. And he was only 24, poor laddie.

Very hard on Peter to lose them both.

Aye. And he's not the sort of man to share his troubles with other people.

166 yards of wheat.


600 pounds of wool.

The boy and the girl both feel it very deeply.

It's always worse for those that are left.


Well, with the exception of the jerseys, that'll be all.

I'll away in and finish my reports.

It's three months are gone and nobody can do anything with the man.

I'm thinking that for as long as he sees me every day, he can't help hating me for what I've done.

There's no reasoning with him. I'm best out of the way.

But she'll only do as he wishes.

It's natural enough. She's all he's got left.

I'll see what I can do.

You won't move him.

I've been talking to your son, James.

He's anxious to go with me to the mainland.

But that's just...

Oh, aye. Thought the lad had that on his mind.

He'll be a sad loss to the island.

I've always helped you in every way I can.

You have that, Mr Dunbar.

But if all your young people leave the island, you'll find it hard to carry on.

It'll be a thousand pities if Andrew goes.

He's worth two of any ordinary men.

I make the total the same as yourself, James.


Excuse me, Mr Dunbar, I have the sheep to see to.


Aye, it's all right, it's all there.

Here, mind that box, they're eggs.

Take care of yourself, son.

Goodbye, Laird.

Not much heft in them yet, John.

It's the salt spray that blows over early in the year.

It'll be a poor harvest.

It will.

And the peat's giving out.

I'm back to my old workings now.

And we canna do without the peat, James.

Nah. The plain fact is, Robbie was right, poor boy.

We'll win through this winter but never another.

Peter'll just have to face the facts.

You know, James, someone'll just have to speak to Peter.


Have you any idea where he is?

He'll be away after the sheep on the cliffs.

Is this true??


Andrew Gray's child?

Yes. And you can't take that from me.

Poor lassie.

Poor wee lassie.

♪ Dream Angus

J Can ye no hush your weepin', oh?

♪ All the wee lambs are sleepin', oh J Birdies are nestlin', nestlin' thegether

♪ Dream Angus is hirplin' o'er the heather

♪ Dreams 10 sell, fine dreams 10 sell

3 Angus is here with dreams 10 sell

♪ Hush ye, my baby, and sleep without fear

♪ Dream Angus has brought you a dream, my dear

3 List to the curlew or yin', oh

3 Fainter the echoes dyin', oh

4 Even the birds and beasties are sleepin'

♪ But my bonny bairn is weepin', weepin'

♪ Dreams 10 sell, fine dreams 10 sell

3 Angus is here with dreams 10 sell

♪ Reel

He'll be here with the summer, my dear.

Aye, we'll soon be able to send the letters out now.

If only I could tell him now.

Looks empty in the evenings. Yes.

Looking for work? I might be.

I need a hand. You do?

Aye. Two pound a week and share.

Where's your boat, Skipper? Over yonder by Victoria Pier.

Well, do you want the job?

Not on a damn trawler!

Oh, particular, are you, lad? Whom I work for.

Oh, well, then I'll no keep you.

One of them!'ll be picked up.

Aye, if they're not blown too far south.

Nah. This wind'll take them right among the fishing fleet.

Harbour Master, have you seen Skipper McFee anywhere?

McFee? Oh, aye. That's his boat o'er yonder.


Have you a full crew?

I'm looking for you, lad.

Andrew Gray, isn't it? Yes.

From Hirta? Yes.

Robbie Manson was my engineer.

Robbie?! Aye, a good boy.

He was.

I'm glad to meet one of his folks, so to speak.

I'm glad I met you, Skipper.

I've a letter for you. You have?

Aye. One of these little mail boats.

I picked him up last Wednesday off Sunborough Head.

Where is it? Back at the "damn trawler".

From a lassie? Yeah.

She'll be looking for ye. Aye.

It's too far to swim, lad.

We're leaving tonight. Do you still feel particular?

Cos there's no reason why we shouldna shoot trawl off Hirta.

She canna breathe.

Would it be the croup?

We don't know.

If only we'd got a bigger boat, we could get to the mainland.


This gale may blow for a week.

Can you make out her name? No, I canna see it.

You must be brave, Ruth.

It's diphtheria.

Then there's only one chance. A doctor.

I haven't the skill to do an operation.

If only we'd got the wireless, we could send for help.

Is there no hope at all?

None if we can't get her to a doctor.

Away up and get Ruth and the wean.



This way, Doctor.

Here's your bag, Doctor. Up there.


Fetch a kettle of boiling water.

A kettle of boiling water. A kettle of boiling water, quick.

I have it here. That's fine, man.



I've got you both safe now, and you're not going back.

They'll all be on by noon.


What are we going to do about the cats?

I'm afraid we'll just have to leave them.

I suppose they'll manage to make a living in the cliffs.

It's the poor dogs I'm worried about.

They're no good as sheepdogs.

Who's to pay for taking them?

Aye, and then there's the licences.

They'd better be drowned.

Maybe when we get to the mainland somebody might buy them.

Are you willing to risk that out of your own pocket? For I'm not.

James, man, I'm away up the Kame.

One of they daft collectors offered me five pounds for a guillemot's egg.

I know just where it is.

Come on, come on! Here!

Here, James Andrew!

Here, man.

Tie up this dog.

Tell them to drown him with the others.

Oh, Peter!


Oh, Peter!

Come here, lad!

Peter! Peter!

Peter Manson! Peter Manson!

♪ Sing in hope, let's find the breeze

♪ Ho-ro, chasing the breeze

♪ Ho-ro, chasing the breeze