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Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends(1950)

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New York City police detective Mark Dixon and his partner Klein return to the 16th precinct where Inspector Nicholas Foley introduces them to their new commander, Lt. Thomas. Later, Foley meets with Dixon to inform him that more battery complaints have been filed against him, but Dixon is unrepentant. That evening, informer Willie Bender visits a private gambling club run by gangster Tommy Scalise. There, out-of-towner Dick Morrison, accompanied by Ken Paine and model Morgan Taylor, is on a winning streak shooting craps. After winning nearly $20,000, Morrison gloatingly decides to leave, but Paine, who is in league with Scalise, orders Morgan to convince Morrison to continue playing. Morgan refuses and when Paine slaps her, she departs. Morrison and Paine then get into a brawl over the game, and Morrison is knocked out. Dixon, Klein and Thomas are later summoned to the club, where they find that Morrison has been knifed to death. Scalise tells them that Morrison was losing money and instigated the fight with Paine. Later, Dixon finds Paine drunk in his apartment and although he admits to the fight, he refuses to believe that Morrison is dead. When Dixon asks him to come to headquarters, Paine refuses and strikes the detective. Angered, Dixon immediately hits back, but when he attempts to rouse Paine, discovers that he is dead. As Dixon nervously considers his options, Klein telephones to inquire whether Dixon has located Paine and Dixon lies about having found him. Dixon then disguises himself in Paine's clothes and leaves the building, unaware that he has been noticed by Paine's neighbor. Later, he returns to the apartment, and, finding Klein there, says he was looking for Paine elsewhere, then steers his partner away from the closet where he has hidden Paine's body. Later that night, Dixon returns to remove Paine's body and is forced to hide under the stairway when a man arrives and pounds on Paine's door. After disposing of the corpse, Paine meets Klein at the station, and Thomas tells them that Paine's bag was found at the train station, leading them to believe he has fled town. The next day, following up on Scalise's testimony, Dixon and Klein go to Morgan's modeling agency. She informs them that she is Paine's wife, although they have been separated for three months, and that she met with him without knowing that he intended to use her as bait to get Morrison to gamble. From her description of the evening, Dixon realizes her father was the man at Paine's door. Dixon invites Morgan out after she finishes work and she agrees, provided they stop at her home first. There, Morgan introduces Dixon to her cab driver father Jiggs, who recalls being a driver on one of Dixon's cases. Later, Morgan describes her rocky marriage to Paine, but their meal is interrupted when Dixon receives a call from Thomas reporting that Paine's body has been discovered. Thomas reveals that Paine had a metal plate in his head from a war wound, making his fall on the floor, not the blow, fatal. Although relieved that Paine's death was accidental, Dixon is determined to pin Paine's and Morrison's deaths on Scalise. Thomas, however, believes that Paine killed Morrison and Jiggs killed Paine, and so has Jiggs arrested. Dixon sets out to connect Scalise to the case, yet when he confronts the gambler, he is beaten up by his thugs. Dixon then visits Morgan, who has been fired because of the publicity surrounding her father's arrest. Dixon advises her to hire a lawyer, but she admits that Paine squandered their savings. That night, Dixon asks Klein for a loan and the next day arranges for Morgan to meet a reputable lawyer. Later, Foley strongly chastises Dixon for his clumsy attempt at questioning Scalise, yet orders his men to pick up Scalise's right-hand man, Steve. After putting Dixon on enforced leave, Foley tells Thomas to lean on Steve the way Dixon would. Dixon meets Morgan, who is crestfallen that the lawyer has refused Jiggs's case. Moved by her distress, Dixon describes his family history and how his father's criminal activities pushed him into law enforcement, yet left him wondering about his own capacity for lawlessness. Dixon assures Morgan that Jiggs will be fine, then leaves and picks up Willie to arrange a meeting with Scalise, who agrees to send a car for him. Before the meeting, Dixon writes a note to Foley, confessing to his part in Paine's accidental death, the cover-up, and his hopes for redemption. Later, Dixon is taken to Scalise's hideout, and when the gambler taunts Dixon about his father, Dixon attacks him, prompting Scalise to shoot him in the arm. After receiving a call advising them that Steve has confessed to murdering Morrison, Scalise and his men try to flee, but Dixon cuts the building's power. Thomas then arrives and the gang is arrested. Back at headquarters, Foley praises Dixon and returns his letter, unopened. Dixon, who is accompanied by Morgan, hesitates, then asks Foley to read the letter. Dixon then asks Foley to allow Morgan to see the letter, and, afterward, as Foley places Dixon under arrest, she promises to wait for him.