Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), produced and directed by Otto Preminger.

First review

Preminger, Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney together again a few years after Laura (1944). This one is darker, more gritty and urban noir toned, but still with a romantic element.

Tough police detective is a bit too tough, killing a suspect during questioning. It's an accident! Over the next busy day he has to conceal the crime, protect the woman he is falling for, prevent an innocent man from taking the rap, and take down the hood he most hates.

Do we want him to get away with all of this? We can see two possible endings: the tragic one and the Hollywood cute variation. They split the difference; we don't know what will happen but she'll be waiting for him.

Dana Andrews is good at the tough guy roles where he tries to be impassive, but we still see the wheels turning.

Second review

Gangster to police detective: "I didn't know a guy could hate that much. Not even you."

Detective Sgt Dana Andrews does indeed hate crooks with a white-hot hate. He's not gentle with his methods, and when he accidentally kills a suspect he becomes "half cop, half murderer", trying to conceal the crime, frame his enemy, prevent an innocent man from taking the fall, and making time with fashion model Gene Tierney. That's too much: something has to give.

Dana Andrews does remarkable work here as a tough guy who is scared. We can see it but no one in the movie can, except for perhaps his partner, who knows something isn't right.

This is a reunion of director, stars, and crew from Laura (1944). We're a long way from the uptown elegance of the earlier movie. Fine camera work by Joseph LaShelle on both films. Preminger uses smooth, almost invisible camera movements, and is sparing with closeups.

Twilight Time Blu-ray with an Eddie Muller commentary track. Excellent image detail and grayscale. The black levels could be just a touch deeper, but that's a small thing in this case. I've seen the movie on DVD, but the Blu-ray really brings it to life.