Monday, October 26, 2009

Where The Sidewalk Ends

The film noir Where the Sidewalk Ends was released in 1950 and directed by Otto Preminger. The film stars Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill and Karl Malden.

Ruthless and cynical Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews), a New York City police detective, who despises all criminals because his father had been one is in trouble with his superiors for his heavy-handed tactics, subjects murder suspect and gambler Ken Paine (Craig Stevens) to the third degree - he strikes the drunken Paine in self-defense and accidentally kills him. Paine, however, is a war hero with newspaper friends. Dixon decides to dump the body in the river.

Dixon tries to place the blame on an old gangster enemy, Tommy Scalise (Gary Merrill), yet, his superior Detective Lt. Thomas (Karl Malden) place the blame for the killing on cab driver Jiggs Taylor (Tom Tully). Taylor had motive as Paine had struck his daughter (Paine's wife) leaving bruises and Taylor had gone looking for Paine that night. Dixon had fallen in love with Jigg's daughter, Morgan Taylor-Paine (Gene Tierney). Dixon tries to clear the her father without implicating himself, but ultimately he becomes trapped in a web created by himself.

Dixon (Andrews) attempts to hide emotion from those around him, and remains expressionless whenever possible. He makes mistakes and tries to cover them up and digs himself deeper and deeper into a predicament that can only end in tragedy.

A classic film noir which mixes vigilantism, doing the proper thing, and a man trying to escape the shadows of his father. You are left wondering through out the movie if Dixon will do the right thing and set Taylor free or frame Scalise for his crime. Even up to the last minute you are left wondering what will Dixon's final choice be and will Morgan stand by him.

I enjoyed this film very much and it reunites Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney with Otto Preminger from the movie Laura.

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