Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: Where the Sidewalk Ends

I'm a film noir buff, yet I haven't seen many classic film noirs everyone is already acquainted with. So I was lucky to finally see Otto Preminger's Where the Sidewalk Ends from 1950, about which I remember reading over 30 years ago. It's a classic film noir, and without the ending it would be a perfect noir.

The plot is great, the stuff of the bona fide noir paperbacks: the violent cop, bent on destruction, kills almost inadvertently a suspect and tries to hide it. Dana Andrews playing the cop is actually a homme fatale in the film, as there's no femme fatale anywhere in sight. There's a woman the cop falls in love with, but she's no bad kitty. It's more like the cop drags him down in his personal hell. The ending is too optimistic, but what can you do? This was Hollywood in 1950.

Preminger keeps the story moving along in a nice pace, and Joseph LaShelle's very noirish cinematography shines throughout the film. There are lots of good character actors in minor roles, such as Karl Malden as a lieutenant and Neville Brand as a gangster. And, oh, did I mention it has Gene Tierney? She looks especially lovely in this.

Anyone read the original novel, Night Cry by William L. Stuart? Vintage Hardboiled Reads has, and it looks great.

4 comments:

Elgin Bleecker said...

Juri – You nailed it. This is classic noir. Otto Preminger was a good director and controversial in his day. I think his best picture was ANATOMY OF A MURDER.

Juri Nummelin said...

It's been at least 20 years since I've seen it last. Should revisit it.

Bill Kelly said...

I have read NIGHT CRY. Great psychological noir. As is typical, the movie story differs from the book, although they do start out the same, but this never matters to me. A movie is good or bad as a movie and book is good or bad as a book.

Juri Nummelin said...

Thanks for the comment, Bill! You're right about that, they don't have to be the same, but still it bugs me that most Hollywood films based on books have tacked-on happy endings.