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USA 1950
Directed by
Otto Preminger
91 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Where The Sidewalk Ends

Reuniting Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney from the highly successful Laura (1944) which he also directed  Where The Sidewalk Ends is the last of a run of films that Preminger made as a director-producer for Twentieth Century Foxthat also included Fallen Angel (1945) and Whirlpool (earlier in 1950 and also starring Tierney).

Andrews plays Mark Dixon, a detective with an inclination to take matters into his own hands in his efforts to clean up New York’s mean streets. He is particularly keen to take down gangster Scalise (Gary Merrill) and when a rich Texan gets murdered at Scalise‘s illegal gambling joint he’s on the case with gusto. In his enthusiasm he accidentally kills a suspect, a decorated WWII vet (Craig Stevens) and in a panic dumps the body and then tries to pin the murder on Scalise.

In principle Where the Sidewalk Ends has the makings of a good thriller but is dragged down by the banality of its execution and it B-grade production values only developing some bite in its latter stages when the real reason behind Dixon's pursuit of Scalise is made apparent.

Like the earlier Fallen Angel, Andrews is well suited to a character who hides his self-doubt and self-loathing behind a façade of toughness. Unlike that film. the romantic element is here rather less than convincing with Gene Tierney as the dead man’s beautiful, estranged wife, a rather too-saintly character who over-readily takes up with Dixon. Guy Merrill is effective as a hoodlum.

Scripted by Ben Hecht from the novel 'Night Cry' by William Stuart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, with its core subject matter of the morally-compromised law-enforcer is at its best as a pre-echo of a today frequently-seen type of cop movie protagonist.




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