by Brad Nelson
A truly classic bit of film noir, this one directed by the renowned Mr. Freeze, Otto Preminger. (Anatomy of a Murder and In Harm’s Way are among his great films. Laura and Angel Face are a couple I need to watch sometime.)
Dana Andrews plays the cop, Detective Dixon, who likes reading criminals his revised Miranda rights. (“You have the right to be punched. You have the right to be slapped around. Anything we can beat out of you will be used against you.”)
Gary Merrill (who I remember best as Colonel Davenport from the outstanding film, Twelve O’clock High) plays the bad guy. And Gene Tierney just looks damn good. What a figure on that dame.
Where the Sidewalk Ends has all that you’d ever want from a film noir. It’s beautifully photographed, has great dialogue, and the mood is dark and suspenseful. Plus, you also have the essential element of various human beings acting very naughty.
Unfortunately, there’s not much more I can say about this very plot-driven movie other than queue it up. If you like film noir, you will like this one. I can even praise Dana Andrews for not being as stiff and boring as usual. Buddy-boy Karl Malden even has an interesting minor role as Andrews’ boss.
I’m not sure what the title, Where the Side Ends, refers to, because there are sidewalks galore in this film that seem to go on forever. This film takes place mostly in the city. But what’s a good film noir without a dramatic title? I give it 3.8 silver plates out of 5. This is one of the finest examples of film noir I’ve yet run across. It’s a real page-turner.