Where the Sidewalk Ends - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Where the Sidewalk Ends Reviews

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½ June 26, 2012
I'm surprised this isn't typically up there with the best film noir of all time. Preminger tells the story in a great way, but I also really enjoyed following Dixon's character. He's dark. Dixon tries to be good and wants to put the bad guys away, but instead he's violent and sloppy. I was worried with this being a less-talked about film noir that the issue would be that Dixon has these tendencies just to make the film more interesting. Nope. But I'll get to that later. Dixon has been demoted because of his recent shenanigans, but that doesn't stop him when a new murder occurs and he knows who did it. If he breaks the rules just once more he can prove that Scalise did it and lock him up once and for all. He makes his way over to Paine's apartment to see what he has to say about his buddy, Morrison, who had been stabbed earlier that night. The only problem is that Paine doesn't like cops. Dixon tries to get Paine to talk, but instead causes a fight. When he hits him in the head in self-defense he accidentally kills him. This could be the end of Dixon's career, so he tries to cover up his accident. It's actually a pretty smart coverup. He goes out dressed as Paine then takes a taxi, hoping the old woman downstairs will see him leave. Then when he doesn't come back she will be the alibi that he left and then he can fram Scalise for being able to whack him during that time. Only one problem: Paine died because of metal in his skull that was placed there after the war. They knew he died by an accidental punch in the head, not by drowning. Because of this they think that Morgan's father is the murderer for getting angry and punching him after he finds out that Paine beat his daughter. This isn't how Dixon wanted things to go. He has fallen in love with Morgan. In fact, he seems to find a new desire for life. This is when he accepts that his father was a thief back in the day and he doesn't have to be like him. I really enjoyed getting to slowly discover who Dixon was beneath his rough exterior. Sure he hates criminals, but why can't he just lock them away for their crimes? Why go out and beat them up and cause trouble? It's all due to his father. Then there's the undertones of regret from the war. Much of the film's about regret. Morgan's regret for even hanging around Paine after she knows he has turned drunk and violent. I found her father to be quite a sad character. He's a taxi driver, but he always tells stories of meeting famous people in his taxi, and when there was one exciting moment with a cop getting in his car and he drove him around it became the greatest moment of his life. He tells an exaggerated version of the story. He lives a simple life, so when he's framed for the murder you can't help but feel bad for the guy and understand Dixon puts himself on the line because of more than just love. The ending was a little too easy. He killed Paine, but Morgan's totally fine with it and says it was just a mistake. Sure, she hated the guy because of his violence, but there was also some kind of love there that was lost. He changed because of the war and she understands this, which is why she gives him chances. For her to be like "it's okay" was just ridiculous. That would be like Samuel Spade forgiving Brigid at the end of The Maltese Falcon. But that's not enough to ruin the film. Turn it off right after he decides to make the chief read his letter and you still have a really solid film.
May 1, 2012
Likeable Preminger noir, with an excellent Ben Hecht script, with great lines like: 'You look bunged up like a barrelhouse vag' Interesting queer villian and more moral ambiguities explored. Fairly well put together and some nice visuals, however Tierney is not at her best and Andrews is pretty unconvincing.
½ April 30, 2012
Great story with well thought out character development. The opening was a little lacking, evidently the show don't tell principle was not taken into consideration when Dixon is being chewed out for beating suspects. I also felt that ending on that up note was a bit of a cheat. I could understand Dixon surviving and having to fess up, but the implication that he'd get off with a slap on the wrists cheapens the impact of his decision. Besides, even if they don't get him for murder, it's at the very least manslaughter, criminal negligence, evidence tampering, obstruction of justice, and desecration of human remains. Plus being an ex cop he'd probably get shanked in holding
March 6, 2012
Mark Dixon is a brutal police detective who despises all criminals. One night while questioning a suspect he is attacked, but when he retaliates with a punch to the face, he kills the man. Given his past record, Mark decides to cover up the murder and the ensuing events is what Where the Sidewalk Ends is all about. Throughout most of the film it seems like Preminger himself is unsure as to whether Dixon is in fact a good man at heart. There are lots of small little anecdotes along the narrative informing the viewer about different aspects of what makes Mark Dixon the man he is. You have the diner waitress, who is extremely saucy with mark, but clearly likes him for saving her from an abusive husband. You have his colleague, Bert Freed's wife, who complains behind closed doors about how terrible of a person Mark is. Even later on, Dixon himself provides one as he talks about his father, a street thug which Dixon proclaims he spend his entire life trying to be anything like. The film wants Dixon to wallow in his guilt, with brooding dark skylines and scenes which tease at the notion of Dixon being seen (the train stopping above him). Having On Deadly Ground so fresh in my mind I can't help to compare the two films. While I do think Ray's film is more of an emotional journey through a man's soul, Preminger's is a calculated narrative which through subtle nuisances does create an interesting study of the fine line between cop and criminal.
February 17, 2012
Craig Stevens is quite a character, and the police procedural turned inside-out here does a number on your sympathies and expectations. Preminger lingers, and you wish he'd lingered more in some of these set-ups, but conscience has a way of mucking up the storyline. Once upon a time this was a source of drama. Dirty Harry changed all that.
February 12, 2012
A little-known gem of a noir, this benefits from being told in a straightforward linear fashion. Andrews is slightly reminiscent of Cagney and the fight scenes are well done. The 87mins playing time fairly flew by.
½ September 3, 2011
Dana Andrews excels at playing the kind of morally compromised character featured here (see his films with Fritz Lang or the great Night of the Demon for Tourneur). True to noir tradition, he is partly fingered by fate and partly by his own bad judgment. As a cop trying to escape the shadow of his (dead) criminal father, he's got a lot of internal tension going on. Preminger keeps it gritty.
½ August 18, 2011
Yes! When usually violent Detective Mark Dixon (Andrews) accidentally kills a suspect while solving a murder case, he does everything to cover it up, especially from the victim's separated wife Morgan (Tierney), when her father is accused of the killing. He spins a web to keep anyone from knowing-- will he fess up or will he get away with it? "Where the Sidewalk Ends" was something I really wanted to see after watching Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney in the famous 1944 classic "Laura" and thank goodness-- this one lived up to my expectations. Complicated plots are something I like to see in film noir, and luckily, this is one of them. As the web of lies Mark Dixon created gets bigger, Andrews' performance just gets better and better, as well as Tierney, who immediately becomes emotional when her father is sentenced for the crime. The cool little score for this movie emphasizes the realness of this movie, and how unpredictable life can become. "Where the Sidewalk Ends" is one of the best Fox Film Noirs, and anyone who loved "Laura" will really like this.
½ June 20, 2011
Hecht/Preminger Fox Noir, reteaming the director with his "Laura" stars, Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, with Andrews as a sullen, violent detective with a bent on taking down a slippery gangster (Gary Merrill), that proves endlessly difficult.
flixsterman
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2011
I know that there is no such thing as the 'perfect film', but I it's hard to imagine how they could have made this one any better. The only thing that comes to mind is fixing Gene Tierney's annoying overbite. Maybe.
March 18, 2011
Schrader classifies this as a post-hard boiled psychological noir, but I think it's more like an early noir. In fact, the Lang/Edward G. Robison noirs are better psychological dramas than Sidewalk. I guess that's because Otto Preminger, though talented, is basically the poor man's Fritz Lang.
½ March 16, 2011
a cop - mark dixon- with a history of roughing people up gets himself caught up in a web of deceit and lies when he accidently kills a suspect by punching him. his cover up leads police to accuse an innocent man and dixon tries to lead and mislead the investigators.

a solid film noir.
½ February 17, 2011
Brooding story that explores the mindset of a hard-man detective with past and present regrets. Like most good noir films, we're not sure whether we should be rooting for him or not and I was pulled along to the finale as a result. My disappointment coming at the end, when he chooses to do the 'right' thing.
½ February 14, 2011
Dana Andrews in one of his best performances. Gene Tierney also delivers in this crime classic.
½ February 12, 2011
A very good film noir drama with what seems a straight forward story but has a twist in it. Then turns into a story of conscience and a bit of revenge thrown in. The film itself is easy to follow and the story is quick. There is the odd bit of violence within the film but they are all restricted to fisticuffs. However these are quite realistic and one fight scene is particularly good. It is more of a film about violence rather than a film with violence.

The only bad aspect of the film is that it takes too long to introduce the story before it gets into the main story. The other aspect is in regards to one aspect of the story the end result is not clear.

Dana Andrews has the right persona for the cold emotionless detective and would not be surprised if the role was written for him to play. Gene Tierney's acting is average meaning that any actress could have done her role equally as well.

Overall a good, easy to follow drama with a bit of a twist. Not much action but a fast moving story. It just seems to take a little too long to get into the story The acting is generally quite good too.
bbcfloridabound
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2010
A good ole Black and White Police Drama, this one is about a Detective who is been warned about roughing up his suspects, while questioning one the fight and he kills him, so he tries his best to cover it up, which only leads to others being wrongfully blamed. The story then unfolds as he tries to make all the wrongs fall into place. A movie ahead f its time. 4 stars.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2010
A brilliant story, part of the film noir left over from the 40s, and starring two famous noir actors: Tierney and Andrews. I loved this movie.
½ August 28, 2010
If you make me googlemapstreetview NYC, then you've already gotten me engaged. Dana Andrews is a friend of mine too.
August 15, 2010
An interesting plotline that was probably ahead of its time in regards to seeing how a mistake can lead to corruption. A borderline corrupt cop in a fit of rage accidentally kills a murder suspect then tries to pin the murder on another murderer. The cop figures, hey, he's wanted for several other crimes, why not one more? Sounds like something you'd hear on a Law & Order episode, only there are no black or latino drug dealers to pin the crime on this time. As the cop's decision to put the blame off on another criminal blows up in his face, the plot takes off and is rather interesting for a 1950s film. The intro to this movie was really stupid (the guy walking over the chalk on the sidewalk, yippeee), but other than that was a very enjoyable movie to watch...if you can handle the uber-cliched 1950s copper dialogue. Take that with Immodium.
½ July 29, 2010
A compulsive watch. Script is so tight and sharp I was immediately drawn in. As great as Laura (maybe better?) and a cut above Whirlpool.
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