Friday 30 April 2010

Where the Sidewalk Ends [1950]

Otto Preminger’s Where the Sidewalk Ends saw the coming together of Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, co-stars in the director’s brilliant Laura. The movie, though not as brooding, atmospheric or downright magnificent as the latter, was no less ‘noirish’; in fact, the end product was far more gritty, brutal and tense. Andrews starred here, with considerable aplomb, as Mark Dixon, a pugnacious cop who prefers treating thugs and crooks with body blows than with kid gloves – a reaction to his wanting to move out of the shadows of his father who was a criminal himself. Consequently, though he’s good at his job, he’s forever facing the ire of his more morally upright chief. During the course of an investigation he accidentally knocks off the key accused of a murder incident, and wrongly ends up framing the guy for it whose lovely daughter he finds himself falling for. Though Lana Tierney’s character is as bland as it gets, she forms the moral anchor which compels Dixon, on one hand, to get even with a mobster who he’s been after for a long time, on the other it also makes him do the ethically right thing (whoever heard that phrase in a film noir) at the end. The good guys and the bad guys are separated right from the beginning of the film; nonetheless, Preminger did blur the line between what’s right and what isn’t, making this a pretty fatalistic movie even for the genre it belongs to, and a satisfying watch too.

Director: Otto Preminger
Genre: Film Noir/Crime Thriller
Language: English
Country: US


John said...

Tierney is wasted but she is the moral center of the film, at least for Dixon. Another fine capsule review my friend andglad your liked this one.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot John. Yeah, it might not rank among the best film noirs, but its a little gem nonetheless.