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Where the Sidewalk Ends (Fox Film Noir)
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A police detective beats a suspect to death, then tries to pin it on a mob boss. Directed by Otto Preminger.
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
- Aspect Ratio : 1.33:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : s_medNotRated NR (Not Rated)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.25 x 0.75 inches; 2.56 Ounces
- Item model number : FOXS2231561DVD
- Director : Otto Preminger
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Black & White, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC
- Run time : 1 hour and 35 minutes
- Release date : December 6, 2005
- Actors : Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Bert Freed, Tom Tully
- Dubbed: : English
- Subtitles: : English, Spanish
- Producers : Frank P. Rosenberg, Otto Preminger
- Language : English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 1.0), Unqualified
- Studio : 20th Century Fox
- ASIN : B000B8384Q
- Writers : Ben Hecht, Frank P. Rosenberg, Robert E. Kent, Victor Trivas, William L. Stuart
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #14,674 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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TITLE: Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) • NR • 1:34:35
Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Bert Freed, Tom Tully, Karl Malden
Otto Preminger (Director)
If you like film noir (which, presumably you do, or you wouldn't be reading this), then you owe it to your self to see this movie (if you haven't seen it already; or, to see it AGAIN if you have). All of the usual attributes of the genre are here — namely: the high-contrast lighting, the off-kilter camera angles, the highly-stylized visual composition, the in-over-his-head-but-doesn't-know-it "tough guy" cop/detective, the beautiful damsel-in-distress/femme-fatale, the collection of shady (but, colorful) characters, and the dead body. But — as any true fan of the category knows — just because you have all of the parts doesn't mean that you have a good movie (or, as in some cases, even a watchable one). Well, rest easy noir fans — because this one takes all of the "usual suspects" (plus, a few more) and blends them together seamlessly to produce one of the best examples of the art form! I think it's tragic that when people congregate and talk about GREAT examples of film noir, that this movie isn't mentioned more often (if, at all)! See it, then tell your friends about it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
NOTE: This movie is one of the films from Fox Home Video's exemplary "Fox Film Noir" series of DVDs (and, in some cases, blu-rays). Every one of the DVDs from this series that I have purchased (e.g.—this movie, I Wake Up Screaming (1941) , Fallen Angel (1945) , Boomerang (1947) , etc.) has featured a VERY high average bit-rate, along with an EXCELLENT picture (for a DVD) and, at a minimum, good to better-than-good sound.
See the other reviews for more detail and/or other opinions regarding the plot of the movie.
VIDEO: 1.33:1 • B&W • 480p • MPEG-2 (8.9 Mbps)
Within the confines of the DVD format, this film exhibits VERY good, to — on frequent occasions — excellent, picture quality; due, in part, I'm sure, to a MUCH higher than average bit-rate than is normally used for a 4:3 (1.33:1) B&W catalogue title. Also, Fox Home Video doesn't state on the box that this movie has been restored or remastered, but it surely looks like it — because, artifacts such as black specks or white dots are nearly non-existent; and, I saw very few hair-lines, nor do I recall seeing any dropped frames. In addition, sharpness and detail (for a DVD) are usually very good — with the textures and patterns of most hair-styles, clothing and furnishings being easily discernible. Lastly, contrast, gray scale and shadow-detail (again, for a DVD) are VERY good overall, and in many scenes, even excellent. Overall, this movie's presentation on DVD has VERY good picture quality, and should satisfy all but the absolute pickiest of viewers.
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dual-Mono, 192 Kbps)
Fox Home Video has apparently also done some clean-up work on the film's soundtrack, because there are no loud bumps nor objectionably high levels of hiss. Also, dialog is very clear and all voices are easily understood. However, dynamic range is very limited, and there is not much bottom-end nor any top-end to speak of (which makes the musical score and the Foley work all sound a little 'thin', and somewhat less than realistic). Otherwise, considering the age of the source elements and the fact that this is a monophonic, dialog-driven movie from the early 1950s, its audio presentation has more than acceptable sound quality.
EXTRAS: Commentary by film historian Eddie Muller
None of the extras were reviewed.
Gets caught up accidentally killing a guy who turns out to be the friend of a girl he has the hots for. Gene Tierney never looked better in a sweater.
He performs a great cover up but.....