HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
StageFright
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Where the Sidewalk Ends Pounding The Pavement
Year: 1950
Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Bert Freed, Tom Tully, Karl Malden, Ruth Donnelly, Craig Stevens, Robert F. Simon, Neville Brand, Kathleen Hughes, Harry von Zell, Snub Pollard
Genre: Drama, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Detective Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) and his partner Paul Klein (Bert Freed) arrive typically late for a staff meeting at their precinct, preferring to be out on the street busting the heads of bad guys. Or at least Dixon busts their heads, and that is a problem as he finds out when he is called into the office of is superior (Robert F. Simon) and told in no uncertain terms that now he has gathered so many complaints against him, the violence must stop. To emphasise that fact, Dixon will be demoted to a lower rank detective, and if he slips up once more then he will be back in uniform and facing further discipline. Suitably chastened, he leaves to contemplate his future, but soon those feelings of hate return when he sets his sights on mobster Scalise (Gary Merrill)…

So where does the sidewalk end? As the lightly offbeat opening titles show us within seconds of the film’s beginning, it’s in the gutter, and if you go too far off that patch you will be consigned to the place where the garbage collects and the rain flows down into the drain, a rather heavy-handed metaphor for where Dixon is headed if he’s not able to control that temper. This was one of the last movies Otto Preminger made as a so-called director for hire, though as with many of his projects he produced it nevertheless; once the nineteen-fifties were truly underway he could order his own efforts around to his heart’s content, making enemies along the way yet so intent on breaking the rules, often the censorship rules, that he couldn’t avoid making waves at the box office.

This saw him reunite the stars of his Hollywood breakout hit Laura with Dana Andrews back with Gene Tierney; although not long before this was released, a lot had happened in those stars' lives which offered their performances a more lived in tone than they might otherwise have provided, Andrews especially (Tierney was the “good girl” in a film noir that lacked a femme fatale). His features had long set into their granite appearance by now, which could give the impression he was an actor with a limited range, yet watch him here and you could perceive a lot of his emoting was done below the surface, if you can imagine him as a swan on the surface of a pond, that sort of thing, though we could see Dixon was raging inside his mind.

And not simply because of what Ben Hecht’s script brought to the character; Hecht was a fearsomely intelligent man who you would like to think worked with Preminger because he had the force of personality to stand up to him. He was dismissive of the movies in general apparently because it took him so little effort to pen scripts almost immediately thought of as classics, as they are to this day, but the fact remained he was an excellent writer with great wit and perception, and while this work was too dour to be really laughter-inducing, its insights into the Dixon character with his severe guilt born from having a criminal father who he wished to set himself as far apart from as possible made for a rich noir, richer perhaps than many more conventional ones adhering to what might be termed clichés.

Dixon lands up to his neck in trouble when he investigates a murder he feels he can finally pin on Scalise; on heading over to the main suspect’s apartment, he finds the man drunk and gets into a scuffle with him, instigated by the suspect himself. The man falls as a result, bangs his head and what bad luck, dies leaving Dixon in a panic – no one will believe him if he says it’s an accident after what his boss has called him out on, so he devises a complex plan to make it look as if his nemesis had orchestrated the man’s assassination. Alas, the blame then is pinned on taxi driver Jiggs (Tom Tully), who happens to be the father of model Tierney’s Morgan, who was going out with the man who was murdered in the first place. Got that? As often with Preminger, the support could be as entertaining as the leads, with Karl Malden as a self-righteous tec who arrests Jiggs and an early role for Neville Brand as a heavy, though Merrill surprises by essaying an excellent villain (frequently sniffing a nasal inhaler full of… some substance). Maybe the ending spoke to the censors Preminger struggled against, but for the most part this was very well played. Music by Cyril J. Mockridge.

[The BFI have released this on an excellent-looking Blu-ray box set entitled The Otto Preminger Film Noir Collection (Region B only). It is accompanied by Fallen Angel and Whirlpool, as well as a detailed booklet, trailers and commentaries for each title and a career interview with Preminger from the early seventies. Click here for the box set on Amazon.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2273 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: