Thursday, March 02, 2006
Where the Sidewalk Ends(1950)***1/2
In Where The Sidewalk Ends, Otto Preminger reunites Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, surely in hopes of recapturing the magic of his Laura. But they're wildly dissimilar films, set in different side of New York.Where Laura is set in uptown Manhattan among high-class sophisticates, Sidewalk is set far downtown in a world of cheap hoods and corrupt, aggressive cops. And where Laura stresses mystery, Sidewalk stresses anxiety and shades-of-anxiety. Haunting is a factor that make Laura a better film, but Where the Sidewalk Ends is tougher, more hard-boiled, and more "noir." (think L.A. Confidential).
Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney of 'Laura' are united once more for the last time ,this time He's got a bigger billing . Andrews now seems to be playing the same detective a few years later, but no longer the romantic, beaten down by his job . Gene Tierney much too stylish-looking for the working-class character (no wonder she doesn't have a saving money in the movie), but she plays it very well but her part is not nearly as well-defined or interesting as in Laura.
The rest of the cast is just as solid with Gary Merrill is great as Scalese, a crime boss that Andrews is obsessed with bringing down. A very young Karl Malden as Dixon's new chief, also on DVD extra you got a commentary By Eddie Muller a san franciscan film history and author (recently Co wrote "Tab Hunter confidential") He also a founder of Noir City in San Francisco last month (did you guys go there??). He points out several good examples on his commentary track. Such as how well Preminger's shots were often deceptively complicated because they followed the action so smoothly in long, continuous takes . (Something that I did't even notice) . There a lot of fun fact such as how many people know that Dana Andrews started his career as a singer?
Overall Where The Sidewalk Ends Certainly a companion piece to Preminger's "Laura," Dana Andrews gives one of his best performances this is a genuinely under-rated film noir and a very good entertainment.