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Where the Sidewalk Ends (Fox Film Noir) (1950)

Dana Andrews , Gene Tierney , Otto Preminger  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Bert Freed, Tom Tully
  • Directors: Otto Preminger
  • Writers: Frank P. Rosenberg, Ben Hecht, Robert E. Kent, Victor Trivas, William L. Stuart
  • Producers: Otto Preminger, Frank P. Rosenberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000B8384Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,634 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Where the Sidewalk Ends (Fox Film Noir)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by film noir historian Eddie Muller
  • Still photo gallery
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews. A gritty noir mystery about a vigilante detective who kills a murder suspect then falls for his grieving widow. 1950/b&w/95 min/NR/fullscreen.

Otto Preminger made four films noirs at Fox, all terrific. If we set aside the peerless Laura as more psychological mystery-romance than noir, there's plenty of evidence for judging Where the Sidewalk Ends the best of the lot (the other two being Fallen Angel, a study in small-town perversity, and Whirlpool, a delicious exercise in creepy psychology, slippery mise-en-scène, and daringly complicated point-of-view). It's a hard-edged tale of a borderline-vicious New York police detective, Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews), with tortuous personal reasons for overzealousness in going after the bad guys. Much of the film unreels in one night, when the murder of a high-roller from out of town precipitates a string of events that lead to Dixon's becoming an accidental killer. Preminger's direction is taut, forceful, and fluid, especially when Dixon sets about creating an alibi for himself. Unfortunately, an innocent man gets implicated, with Dixon looking on, and the guilty cop's moral and psychological torment increases with each turn of the screw.

Tightly scripted by Ben Hecht, Preminger's film lacks the anguished poetry of Nicholas Ray's On Dangerous Ground, another 1950 noir centered on a cop (Robert Ryan) addicted to ultraviolence, but its grip is relentless. Preminger had a shrewd instinct for tapping a certain thuggish strain in Andrews, whose performance here is arguably his best. They're reunited with Gene Tierney, as a woman caught in the sidewash of sordid goings-on, and Laura cameraman Joseph La Shelle, whose work has a luster beyond the accustomed semidocumentary look of Fox noirs. Gary Merrill, usually a bland nice-guy, relishes the chance to play nasty as Dixon's gangland bête noire Tommy Scalise, a homoerotic villain in the Tommy Udo vein with a menthol inhaler as fetish object. --Richard T. Jameson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
The set up and the dark photography in Otto Preminger's film noir from 1950 provide all the necessities to create a dark and morally corrupt environment. Even the title Where the Sidewalk Ends alludes to an ominous atmosphere of a looming end in a mundane environment. The opening reveals that Detective Sergeant Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) who has a record of beating up suspects, and it costs him his rank within the police force. On top of this, a peer, Thomas (Karl Malden), from his police school days is taking over as Police Chief for the 16th Precinct in which he works. It is a hard blow to his ego, as there is nothing more important to Dixon than to putting criminals behind bars.

It is within the imperfect persona performed by Dana Andrews that the story gets its captivating quality. Dixon lives a lonely life while his workaholic attitude finds nourishment in his deep fiery hatred towards criminals, which is also the reason why he finds himself in trouble with his superiors. The solitude of Dixon overshadows the whole story and it accentuates the tough elements of film noir within the film. Little by little, the story reveals why Dixon has such a strong hatred for delinquent characters, as it also provides additional support of the elements of film noir within the film.

Dixon's job brings him on long and tough shifts amidst the murky nights of New York City where he comes across a murder in a small and ritzy underground gambling club. The club happens to belong to a shady character named Tom Scalise (Gary Merrill) with whom Dixon has crossed paths with in the past. They are in good terms with one another, on the contrary Dixon treats him like the lowest scum in the world, which is an indicator that he thinks Scalise is a crook.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the best detective films of the Fifties! January 16, 2007
Perhaps the most gripping and intelligent of crooked cop movies is Otto Preminger's 'Where the Sidewalks Ends,' from a really excellent script by Ben Hecht based on the novel 'Night Cry' by Frank Rosenberg...

Dana Andrews is the honest, tough New York policeman, always in trouble with his superiors because he likes his own strong-arm methods as much as he detests crooks... When he hit someone, his knuckles hurt... And the man he wants to hit is a smooth villain (Gary Merrill) who points up the title. 'Why are you always trying to push me in the gutter?' he asks Andrews. 'I have as much right on the sidewalk as you.'

Dana Andrew's obsession and neurosis are implanted in his hidden, painful discovery that he is the son of a thief... His deep hatred of criminals led him to use their own illegal methods to destroy them, and the pursuit of justice became spoiled in private vendetta...

By a twist of irony unique to the film itself, Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney of 'Laura' are united once more, and Andrews now seems to be playing the same detective a few years later, but no longer the romantic, beaten down by his job, by the cheap crooks... This time, he goes too far, and accidentally kills a suspect... The killing is accidental, the victim worthless, yet it is a crime that he knows can break him or send him to jail...

Using his knowledge of police procedure, he covers up his part in the crime, plants false clues, and tries to implicate a gang leader, but cannot avoid investigating the case himself... The double tension of following the larger case through to its conclusion without implicating himself in the murder, is beautifully maintained and the final solution is both logical, satisfying, and in no way a compromise...
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
There's a hole as big as Carlsbad Caverns right in the middle of the plot. What is so surprising is that, thanks to Otto Preminger's skill and that of his cinematographer, Joseph LaShelle, how the story is told more than makes up for it. Here's the set-up. A police detective with a well-earned reputation for beating up low-lifes tracks down a suspect in a murder. The guy is drunk and the cop is impatient. One thing leads to another and the guy stands up and smacks the cop on the chin. While the cop is picking himself up, the guy reaches for a whiskey bottle and starts to bring it down on the cop's head. The cop blocks that swing, then punches the guy hard, and I mean hard, right in the chest, then connects just as hard with the guy's chin. The guy goes down and doesn't get up. He's dead. So now we're off on a plot-line where the cop's hatred of crooks, which is based on some family issues, suddenly has him hiding the corpse. Wouldn't you know it, the corpse is found...and an aggressive young precinct head decides that the man responsible is the father of a girl the detective starts to fall for. And while this is going on, the detective hasn't stopped his obsessive search for the crook he thinks is really behind the original murder, a sneering mobster with a fondness for nasal inhalers.

Wait, now. Any cop who hit and accidently killed a guy in self defense would instantly have a wall of blue thrown protectively around him, no matter how hard a case he might be. Every resource would be used to see that the cop was exonerated. I know, I know, this is a movie, but Detective Mark Dixon's (Dana Andrews) reaction is so excessive that it becomes nothing more than a glaring plot device. And, in my view, that undermines the tension of the movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney are very good together. paulg.
Published 6 days ago by paulg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 19 days ago by Princess Davis
3.0 out of 5 stars Andrews in better movies!
I have seen Mr. Andrews in better movies!
Published 1 month ago by Believer
3.0 out of 5 stars Where The Sidewalk Ends
This was one Noir film that I had never seen. It seems to get great reviews from all the legitimate critics. Read more
Published 2 months ago by kenneth s. fales
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I collect DVDs,I have over 3,500 and this is part of the collection
Published 3 months ago by R D F
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine 50's Noir
Loved the movie...typical "noir" from the fifties. Excellent print, but a couple of instances of freezing images during the movie. Read more
Published 7 months ago by G. Young
4.0 out of 5 stars Laura redux
Preminger tries to match the success of "Laura" by matching up Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney again. For the most part he is successful but there is something lacking for it to... Read more
Published 9 months ago by david erickson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Show
I enjoyed the suspense and thrill provided by this movie. Dana Andrews was his usual cocky but mischievous self. I liked it.
Published 9 months ago by T. U.
5.0 out of 5 stars Where the Sidewalk Ends
One of my very favorite Dana Andrews movies.
I love him with Gene Tierney. I have 3 of their
five films together. I don't have Tobacco Road
or Star Belle. Read more
Published 11 months ago by readermeter
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie- but DON'T read reviews!
Er- I guess I should say don't read OTHER reviews (if you hate spoilers, anyway). This is a favorite film, great on so many levels- Dana Andrews is splendid as always, and the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Trancelucence (Leigh)
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