- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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There was Dirty Dixon before Dirty Harry
- Jeff Boston
Andrews is impressive as "Sandy Dixon's kid", a tough cop trying to prove to everyone - especially himself - that he is not a degenerate like his father was. Memorable line by his by-the-book boss, when speaking to Det. Dixon: "You always have to break orders - you always have to do things your way." Yes, and get things done (did this film, written by the great Ben Hecht, help inspire the legendary "Dirty Harry" a generation later?) One scene insinuates that the new captain (Malden) decides to employ a Dixonesque tactic to get a hoodlum to sing about his no-good crime gang friends. One glaring weakness in "Where the Sidewalk Ends" was having the urbane and highfalutin Tierney playing the daughter of a salt-of-the-earth, "regular guy" cab driver.
great film until the end.
This gritty film noire shows the best and worst of law enforcement. The acting of Tierney and Dana Andrews is top notch. Another role by Andrews that shows the critics who fault his acting, along with Cooper and several other actors who never won any academy awards. I disliked the ending because it was an unbelievable act of being given a well deserved out by his boss, for crossing over the line but not taking that opportunity. While I do not agree that the ends always justifies the means. There are rare circumstances that should allow that extreme means is necessary to achieve justice. And in this case, Justice was not being served until Andrews took extreme measures. I would also agree that Andrews had his own agenda. To free himself from his father's sins, which of course none of us should fall victim. Andrews's character was just too over the top with his desire for complete honesty. Perhaps the movie codes of that time, made it necessary for the film to end as it did. Bad guys always had to be punished. But Andrews was never a bad guy. Karl Malden, and Tim Tully played great supporting roles. The film also accurately portrayed the bonds that all law enforcement officers have for their partners, who are often very different personalities, but are held together by the faith one has for the other, that in a pinch, their trust can always be counted.
DAna Andrews playing a complex character
Andrews has been called a "wooden" actor. While he may not have the charisma of some actors, he seems more like one of us, and not like some actors who seem to remind us they went to acting school. Andrews plays difficult part, allowing his obscension to erase the legacy of being the son of a hood, by becoming a cop with the added obsession of nailing Gary Merril, who plays a rather convincing role of a calm, cool, and vicious boss of a crime gang. The story becomes more complex when in the course of his investigating a killing which Merrills character is involved, Andrews accidently kills a fallen hero who is married, but separated to the female love interest, Gene Tierney. By coincidence, Andrews plays a cop, named Mark with Tierney in Laura, another great role of Andrews. Andrews hides the body of Tierney's husband who happens to be the object of hatred by Tierney's Dad, and who is arrested for killing Craig Stevens, the tarnished hero. The sub-plot is Andrews, who is a better Dective than Karl Malden, but was promoted over Andrews, has inincorrectly arrests Tierney's Dad, Tom Tully playing a cabby who happens to drive to beat, but not kill his daugter's estranged husband, for giving Tully's daughter a beating. Andrews plays a terrific role, falling in love with Tierney, and knowing that neither her Dad, or Merril the hood actually killed Stepens, attempts to provoke Merril into killing Andrews by committing the strangest attempted suicide. Andrews is driven by the fact that he has disgraced himself by killing and higing the body, and writes a letter to his Boss, clearing up the whole story, and cleansing his soul with a confession. This rather bizzare plot has a final twist. Andrews is offered a promotion, but choses prinicpal over luck. He is arrested, based on the letter, which was handed back, unopened. He tells his boss to open it, and is arrested. The audience is left on the upbeat, that Tierney will wait for him.
It packed a wallop
- Jeff Haller
I just wanted to watch something different tonight. Didn't care if it was good, just wanted to see something I didn't know. This was a knockout. The performances, well, Dana Andrews is for me Hollywood's most underrated actor. But the acting was tight all around and the script is very well thought out. I was afraid that the ending was going to disappoint, but it didn't at all. It wasn't sad, and it wasn't really that sentimental though it was romantic. This is a neglected film that needs to be seen on TCM more often. Crime dramas don't get this perceptive and complex very often. This movie is lightyears ahead of its time.
Reflections on a classic Noir!
- Joe Regan Jr
I remember as a kid when this movie came out. The joke about the title was the anwer "The gutter". I saw it then but one saw so many movies at that time (my home town had five movie theaters, two first run, and three subsequent double feature runs) that it did not stay within my memory. The movies I saw twice were most of the Warner Brothers, MGM, RKO and Fox movies. Universal movies only played at the WB theater first run.Republic pics played the Fox Strand, the second run house. Intrigued by the cast and credits I watched it this morning and what an extraordinary work it is...despite the production history there are steller performances by all the leads and supporting actors, several more familiar in later years(Robert Simon, Karl Malden) and a surprising performance from Gary Merrill I believe prior to All About Eve or at the same time. Tierney, underrated is exquisite in conveying the subtext of a complex character.
A Genuine Hard Boiled Classic
Certainly a companion piece to Preminger's "Laura," this is a genuinely under-rated film noir that's as tough as they come. Screenwriter Ben Hecht infuses the script with nice pyschological back story - and the ending is not a cop-out (no pun intended). Great stuff.