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Where The Sidewalk Ends

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Where The Sidewalk Ends

Postby ken123 » May 4th, 2007, 8:24 pm

Dana Andrews is a tough cop embroiled in a murder case. Gene Tierney attempts to civilize him. Nevelle Brand is a very bad guy. 8)


Postby klondike » May 5th, 2007, 2:46 pm

Wow, I've never caught this one!
Is Brand as nasty as he was in D.O.A.?
I'm hoping he was, at least, less sweaty!

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Postby Dewey1960 » May 5th, 2007, 3:04 pm

For me, this is Preminger's best noir film, far superior to LAURA, in fact. What distinguishes this one in particular is Dana Andrews' complex performance as an essentially good cop who tragically oversteps his bounds once too often (he's compulsively violent) and then tries to cover his bloody tracks. The suspense around this is brutally rendered, intensifying an already exciting scenario.

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Postby ken123 » May 5th, 2007, 5:33 pm

klondike wrote:Wow, I've never caught this one!
Is Brand as nasty as he was in D.O.A.?
I'm hoping he was, at least, less sweaty!

Not nearly as bad, but he MAY have a secret in WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS. 8)

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Postby Mr. Arkadin » May 5th, 2007, 6:33 pm

I agree with your statements Dewey. A lot of people love Laura, but that film is like "Diet Noir" or "Noir Lite" to me. Andrews performance here is as good as his work in Oxbow (and both contain letters he wrote!), but much more subtle.

This film has many twists and turns and has a unique ending.


I do kinda wish at the end that GT would have been hurt and disgusted and left him to twist in the wind. It just seems a bit too neat that she would wait for him and is still crazy about him. I guess that's just the sadist in me.

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Postby MissGoddess » May 10th, 2007, 12:38 pm

It's gritty where Laura is more polished, and Gene's character has less to do as the story is really about what's happening to Andrews' policeman. I still prefer Laura but this is the next best of all the DA/GT teamings and I was really happy when Fox put it on dvd, not having seen it for years and years.

Miss G

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Postby moira finnie » November 25th, 2007, 5:20 pm

Hey Ken, I finally caught up with this "essential" Otto Preminger noir on a dvd! Klondike, you gotta get this dvd.

It was most enjoyable, and was especially savory after relishing Preminger's Fallen Angel (1945) recently. I was particularly taken with the silent moments given to Dana Andrews in this film. His expressive face with that thousand yard stare comes in handy when he realizes that he's fallen into a spiral from which he may never return. This weariness of the soul is most touching during the sequence when Andrews sits up throughout the night until dawn comes, smoking and thinking, without a word of dialogue.

Dialogue, (at least some of which is from the pen of Ben Hecht), is pretty good here, especially when spouted by character actors such as Ruth Donnelly, Robert F. Simon (who's uncredited!), and the marvelous Tom Tully. There's one extended sequence between Andrews and his alienated partner Bert Freed and Freed's wife, Eda Reiss Merin (also uncredited!) about borrowing money that is probably a model of how to suggest a complex life and a dynamic among characters economically on film.

Possible Spoilers Below
My only quibble: Gene Tierney, who's always lovely to see, but...her character behaves preposterously.
For instance, in one sequence she's riding the bus with Andrews, who's trying to help her for his own duplicitous reasons. She tilts her lovely chapeaued head flirtatiously toward a haggard Andrews and starts cooing that "You're an amazing man. You know something? I could just kiss you. Right here."

Tierney then goes on blithely to explain that the notoriety of the police case she's become involved in has led to her employer giving her the boot. Now, she's playing a character who has, until very recently, been part of a stressful marriage to a troubled, battle-scarred war hero who knocked her around and bled her dry of money. Her father is languishing in The Tombs awaiting arraignment on murder charges against someone and she's already mentioned to Andrews that she and her old man haven't a sous, thanks to her hubby. Oh, yeah, and her hubby (Craig Stevens, who's good in a brief but effective part), has just turned up floating in the East River. So she's a very recent widow under tragic circumstances, her old man may be going to the chair, and she can't pay the rent.

Now, I like an optimistic girl with stamina and bounce, but some things just wouldn't glide off this character's hide this easily, do you think?!! The ending tries for some optimism that preceding events don't entirely justify either, but it's always tough to send an audience out of the theatre realizing that the characters they've just observed and felt for might wind up locked into an even lonelier life than before. I just think I would've appreciated a stronger note of ambiguity about the possible future for Andrews and Tierney. Otherwise, this is a fine noir, full of long, dark nights, wonderfully seedy and oh, so cramped apartments, rooms, and rat holes.

Interestingly, Neville Brand actually has a cooler head than the creepy hoodlums around him, one of whom, significantly, is Gary Merrill, a few months before All About Eve changed his life and career forever. Gary looks like a road show Sky Masterson with poor hygiene habits to me.

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Postby ken123 » November 25th, 2007, 11:48 pm

Glad that you liked it Moira ! 8)

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Postby movieman1957 » February 18th, 2009, 11:35 pm

Finally caught this one. I agree with April that "Laura" is more polished and this one a little more earthy.

I liked Andrews performance very much. Andrews is either busy being a gentleman to Gene and trying to set things right or he is some kind of a monster who lives to be the tough cop. Complex is a good word for his character. I also thought Merrill was quite good. Gene seemed to have little to do except look beautiful.

The overall story is good enough but things are just a little too coincidental to ring completely true.

I don't know enough of Preminger's work to know what makes it HIS but it certainly was, to use a cliche, atmospheric. Moira used the term "rat hole" for some of the settings and that is as good a term as any.

I enjoyed it but I don't think quite as much as the rest of you.

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Re: Where The Sidewalk Ends

Postby Vienna » November 19th, 2012, 12:26 pm

I agree with Moirai that Gene Tierney's character is too forgiving ,considering what Dana Andrews puts her father through.
The other big disappointment for me is how little Gene has to do - a much smaller role than Laura.
But a great part for Dana.
And I liked Gary Merrill,always clearing his sinuses! Lee Marvin had a similar problem in Violent Saturday.

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Re: Where The Sidewalk Ends

Postby Western Guy » December 4th, 2012, 6:14 pm

Interesting to see Gary Merrill (an actor I've long admired) playing the gangster in this one. In later years, in retirement, living in Connecticut, Gary apparently was quite recognizable by residents by his habit of walking around wearing a kilt.

Good for him!

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Re: Where The Sidewalk Ends

Postby RedRiver » December 5th, 2012, 1:26 pm

I'd be careful on windy days!

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