Where the Sidewalk Ends

1950

Action / Crime / Drama / Film-Noir

6
IMDb Rating 7.6 10 6531

Synopsis


Uploaded By: OTTO
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Director

Cast

Gene Tierney as Morgan Taylor
Karl Malden as Lt. Thomas
Dana Andrews as Det. Mark Dixon
Neville Brand as Steve, Scalise Hood
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756.35 MB
1280*720
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 35 min
P/S 1 / 1
1.44 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 35 min
P/S 0 / 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Martin Bradley 7 / 10

No classic but well worth seeing nevertheless.

There is a nice stench of something resembling corruption at the heart of this Otto Preminger directed noir which followed on from "Laura" and "Fallen Angel" and which continued his collaboration with the actor Dana Andrews. In this one Andrews plays a cop who wants to do good but whose temper gets the better of him. When he kills a suspect things go from bad to worse for him, particularly when he falls in love with the man's widow, (Gene Tierney, who else).

"Where the Sidewalk Ends" may not be the classic that "Laura" was, or indeed "Fallen Angel", but once again Andrews is superb, (he was certainly one of the most underrated of great actors, brilliant at playing heroes with demons to cope with, literally in the case of "Night of the Demon"). There's good work, too, from Karl Malden, Gary Merrill, Tom Tully, Ruth Donnelly and an excellent Bert Freed as Andrews' partner and Ben Hecht did the fine screenplay from a novel by William L Stuart. Unfortunately the film has largely been forgotten and Preminger's star is no longer in the ascendant but this is still well worth seeing.

Reviewed by calvinnme 8 / 10

Did this great noir with a meaningless title inspire Dirty Harry?

Dana Andrews plays New York City police detective Mark Dixon. Dixon is in trouble with his superior because he beats up the hoods he encounters. The problem is Dixon's father was a hood himself and got the current big cheese in the underworld, Tommy Scalise (Gary Merrill), his start in crime. Mr. Merrill looks about as Italian as a Cro-Magnon man, in fact he actually resembles Cro-Magnon man, but that's another story. So Dixon really sees his much hated but long departed dad in all of these rats he collars, thus the attitude. Dixon's superior says one more complaint about his rough stuff and he's off the force.

Then a murder at a private game set up by Scalise to take an out of town hayseed. You see, the hayseed started winning - 19K to be exact - and then wanted to leave. Scalise and his mob disagreed.

When Dixon and his partner get the call, the rich Texan is lying dead with a knife in his heart, Scalise says he was losing not winning when he died, and the guy (Craig Stevens as Ken Payne) who got into a fight with him over a girl (Gene Tierney as Morgan Taylor) is long gone, as well as the girl. Dixon and his partner split up, with Dixon going to Ken's place to see what he has to say.

Now apparently all Ken did - and all the audience saw - was Ken knock the Texan cold. Ken has no idea that he has been set up to take the fall for a murder. So when Dixon shows up at Ken's place a fight breaks out when Dixon tries to arrest him. Ken throws a punch at Dixon, Dixon hit back, and Ken lands on the floor dead. Then a phone call from Dixon's partner. When asked if he found Ken, Dixon says no. The partner warns him not to get rough with the guy because, besides being a first class scum bag, he was a war hero and has a steel plate in his head due to war wounds. Thus the one punch death.

Nobody is going to believe the truth given his reputation, so Dixon has to come up with a clever plan to get rid of the body and make the timeline look like he could never have been the killer. He succeeds too well. Then he begins to fall for Ken's widow, Morgan. And Dixon did a very good job of throwing suspicion off, because it lands on Morgan's dad who is booked for Ken's murder once the body is found. So Dixon has the possibility of making the woman he loves both a widow and an orphan. How can he make this right and get to keep Morgan, or can he? Watch and find out.

Andrews' acting is subtle, mainly all facial expressions, since he can't talk out the dilemma he is in with anybody. The entire cast is superb. You've even got Karl Malden in a minor role as the new supervisor of detectives, and Tom Tully as Jiggs Taylor, Morgan's cab driving dad whose loud voice and big stories help get him into the legal jam he finds himself. That mousy little petty criminal who manages to have a small part all through the film that you've seen a hundred times in similar roles? Wrong. That was Don Appell in his only screen appearance. Finally there is Ruth Donnelly adding some great atmosphere as the hash slinging mom figure to Dixon. The only characterization that made me go "huh?" was Gene Tierney playing the daughter of a cab driver like she is a Park Avenue debutante.

I'd give it a nine if not for the ending. Darn that production code. Watch and find out what I mean.

Reviewed by James Hitchcock 6 / 10

Moral Confusion

When gambler Ted Morrison is murdered, Mark Dixon, a New York police detective, goes to interview Ken Paine, a suspect in the killing. Dixon, in fact, knows that Paine is innocent and that the real killer, a gangster named Tommy Scalise, is trying to frame him. (Scalise was trying to avoid paying a gambling debt he owed to Morrison). Dixon tries to explain what he knows, but Paine, a drunkard and gambler, distrusts all cops and attacks him violently. Dixon attempts to defend himself, and in the ensuing scuffle Paine is accidentally killed.

A number of films noirs from this period featured tough, uncompromising cops; Jim McLeod, Kirk Douglas's character in "Detective Story" can be seen as a predecessor of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry". When men like McLeod and Glenn Ford's Dave Bannion in "The Big Heat" go outside the law, however, they generally do so in their zeal to put the bad guys behind bars. "Where the Sidewalk Ends", however, goes further than this. It's "hero", if he can be called such, is a cop who commits a crime in furtherance of his own interests. The crime is not the killing of Paine- Dixon never meant to kill him and only struck him in self-defence. The crime is his attempt to interfere with the course of justice by covering up what he has done. Dixon does not tell anyone what has happened but simply dumps Paine's body in the river. The main reason for his actions seems to be that he is already in trouble with his superiors for his heavy-handed treatment of suspects and is afraid to lose his job.

A complicating factor is that Dixon meets, and falls in love with, Paine's estranged wife Morgan. Things become even more complicated when Morgan's father Jiggs Taylor becomes the chief suspect in Paine's death. Taylor certainly would have had a motive for such an act because he hated his son-in-law who had often been guilty of domestic violence against Morgan. When Dixon's boss Lieutentant Thomas becomes convinced that Taylor is the killer, Dixon tries to protect the old man, not by confessing to his own involvement but by trying to place the blame on Scalise.(A case of "the framer framed").

The film is sometimes regarded as a "classic of film noir", but it is not really one of my favourites. A degree of moral ambiguity was a common feature of noir, but here we are never sure whether we are supposed to be cheering Dixon on as a fearless crime-fighter or condemning him as a villain who kills a man and then cynically tries to hide the evidence. As a result the film goes well beyond mere ambiguity and ends up in moral confusion. This confusion is not resolved by Dixon's last-minute confession, a confession which seems to have been inspired less by genuine contrition on the part of Dixon (or by a desire to protect Taylor, who has already been cleared of the charges) than by a concern on the part of the film-makers not to breach the Production Code requirement whereby criminals could never be seen to get away unpunished.

The screenplay does make some attempt to explain Dixon's behaviour in psychological terms; his hatred of criminals, for example, is said to derive from the fact that his own father was himself a criminal. To make psychoanalysis of this sort work, however, would require a much finer acting performance than we get from Dana Andrews who plays Dixon with stony-faced impassivity throughout. None of the other cast members make much of an impression. The lovely Gene Tierney is wasted as Morgan, a largely passive character who is the object of other characters' emotions but does not do much in her own right.

The reason why I have given the film an above-average mark is that Otto Preminger's direction is considerably better than either the script or the acting. The genre was known as "noir" for two reasons, both very evident here. This first is that films noirs were generally shot using by expressionist photography, with strong contrasts of light and dark, and many scenes set at night. ("Where the Sidewalk Ends" probably has more night-time scenes than most noirs). The second is that (in contrast to many Hollywood films of the period) noir was marked by a sense of pessimism and of an ineradicable strain of violence and criminality lurking beneath the outwardly optimistic surface of American society, and this sense is particularly strong here. In common with some other noirs, this is a film we watch as much for its atmosphere as for its story. 6/10

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