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ANDREWS, TIERNEY & PREMINGER 'WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS'

Dana and Gene a third time YEAR: 1950
A sort of Film Noir in reverse as a downright bad and brutal cop does something accidental and pretty awful, covers it up and then, a bit later, gets half-a-heart, which is how Noir leading men usually start: this after he falls for the Falsely Accused Wrong Man's daughter in Gene Tierney's gorgeous, as usual, Morgan Taylor... Even her name is lovely...

Dana Andrews, who resembled a hybrid Sean Connery before there was one famous enough to resemble, and Steve Martin had he been a tough and tall leading man type, stole scenes in the post World War Two classic, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, and, brother of Steve Forrest, has the same square-jaw and no-nonsense style, and is a lot more edgy and desperate than his snoopy cop in the previous, more lavish and high-budgeted crime melodrama, LAURA, with the same director and gorgeous co-star...

Take that, Peter Gunn... Dana punches Neville Brand
His character here, Detective Mark Dixon, wields a reputation that proceeds him, including a gangster-friendly father as we open with (what we know is yet another) police captain-scolding that sets the stage for a first act with a meticulous, contained vibe, especially an important sequence involving murder and a quick cover-up...

One of the greatest "directed movies" as a strategically maneuvered camera by director Otto Preminger sticks to a focal character and then revolves around that person and several others (a sort of gravitational pull), or begins on the focal point and then backing up, even during action/fight scenes while, also unlike the famous cult crime-genre, SIDEWALK ENDS is not so dark-lit and alley-way shadowy but full of interior light, showing eyes bright and, for one particular person, guilty as sin...

Prison without bars for a sleepless cop
Without delving into details or any big spoilers that could spoil the ride, after Dixon begins to melt, the suspense is there but the intrigue wanes: on purpose; sort of a one man show with people all around, it's really about just how long our bad/good cop can, as the fitfully melodramatic score blares, keep his tight lips firm, teeth clenched, and the truth inside while ultimately risking his life while saving another.

RATING: ****1/2  TRIVIA: Dana Andrews died at a Los Alamitos, Southern California Alzheimer's Hospital about five minutes where yours truly grew up and a literal stone's throw from softball league at Laurel Park, across the street. And after Dana's roles lessened in the 1980's, he successfully bought land starting in Garden Grove, a few miles from where he died and where your favorite blogger works a non-movie day job. Who knew a legend was so close? If only it was known back then. And, while watching MYSTERIOUS ISLAND, one particular actor, Gary Merrill, who played a journalist in that and the head gangster in this, stood out.
David Wolfe, Gary Merrill and Don Appell in Where The Sidewalk Ends
Baddies Gary Merrill, David Wolfe and Neville Brand faced off by a desperate Dana Andrews
Gene Tierney at her most lovely; Dana listens as Gene answers to his partner Bert Freed
Dana Andrews and partner Bert Freed in Where the Sidewalk Ends
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