Written by Michael Clawson
Preminger’s second noir outing with Dana Andrews (quickly becoming a favorite of mine) and Gene Tierney (most definitely a favorite), six years after Laura. Andrews is a hot-tempered city cop with a bad habit of roughing up his suspects, not unlike Robert Ryan’s violent policeman in On Dangerous Ground. While investigating a murder, he slugs and accidentally kills a key suspect, knocking the guy dead in a single punch. He proceeds to try and cover his tracks, while still seeking the thug he’s sure is actually responsible for his murder case. Tierney is the daughter of the hapless cabbie who’ll take the fall for the murder if Andrews doesn’t fess up or get caught. Preminger wrings plenty of suspense out of the scenario, which, as in Laura, also involves Andrews and Tierney falling for each other. But where Laura bears the sheen of its high-society setting, Where the Sidewalk Ends is all dingy backrooms, shabby working-class apartments, and dimly lit side streets. Consensus appears to be that Laura is the better of the two. If it is, it’s not by much. Rather than pit them against each other, better to say they make a great pair: one’s grungy, the other’s glamorous.
Where the Sidewalk Ends Trailer
Where the Sidewalk Ends is currently available to stream on the Criterion Channel.