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on 17 June 2017
Terrific film. Blu-ray looks excellent, nice sharp, detailed image.
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on 7 April 2005
From the fantastic opening sequence in which the credits are scrawled graffiti-style on the sidewalk and the camera closes in on filthy rainwater rushing down the gutter, this movie employs a series of interesting and offbeat visual, structural and sonic devices to explore its themes of fate and corruption and to keep the viewer constantly surprised and challenged. Preminger's refusal to emotionally signpost the narrative with an intrusive musical score allows the crackling of police radios, the rattling of subway trains and the ambient traffic noise to form a kind of realistic soundtrack to the film. Absence of musical pointers also intensifes the moral ambiguity of the protagonist's actions. Long scenes (such as the beautifully taut sequence filmed beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in which Dana Andrews disposes of the body of Gene Tierney's estranged husband) take place in virtual silence, inviting us to construct our own moral perspective and to concentrate on the gorgeous deep-focus black and white photography. Structurally, too, Preminger keeps us on our toes. The scene which in any other film would be the climax of the action, involving an inevitable shoot-out and a quick resolution of the story's moral conflicts, is here omitted completely: we simply hear about it afterward. For some viewers this might be disconcerting, but its effect is to sustain the ambiguity to the end and to leave the destiny of the central character somewhat unresolved. It's as fitting and complex an ending as the studio system would allow to Ben Hecht's clever and twisty screenplay which piles cruel irony on top of cruel irony for Detective Dixon, "half cop, half killer" as the bad guy calls him, driven by a hatred for hoodlums which is exceeded only by hatred of himself. As the original vigilante cop, the grim-faced Dana Andrews brilliantly conveys this unstable brew of vicious anger and self-loathing. By contrast, Gene Tierney's role as the good-girl saviour of our shadowy hero is slightly trite. It's the most conventional thing about this challenging and intriguing movie. The restored print used on the BFI's DVD edition is immaculate.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 February 2011
American city film noir directed by Otto Preminger with the screenplay written by Ben Hecht. The adaptation is from the novel Night Cry written by William L. Stuart and Joseph LaShelle provides the cinematography for the New York City shoot. It stars Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Bert Freed, Tom Tully & Karl Malden, with support coming from Ruth Donnelly, Craig Stevens & Neville Brand.

Tough New York cop Mark Dixon (Andrews) is constantly in trouble with his superiors for his heavy-handed treatment of suspects. When disaster strikes during an altercation with Ken Paine (Stevens), Dixon chooses an unethical route and attempts to frame a gangster nemesis called Tommy Scalise (Merill). However, things don't go according to plan and not only does Dixon find himself falling in love with Paine's wife, Morgan Taylor-Paine (Tierney), but also that he is now mired in a quagmire investigation which sees Morgan's father, Jiggs (Tully) accused of the crime he himself is responsible for.

Where The Sidewalk Ends was the final film noir piece that Preminger made for 20th Century Fox in the 1940s. Then a director for hire, the film sees Preminger re-teamed with Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Joseph LaShelle, Ben Hecht and art director Lyle Wheeler, all of whom produced the excellent Laura in 1944. Whilst linking the two film's together is understandable given the makers and the genre involved, the two are very different movies. Which to my mind makes a mockery of some critics looking unfavourably on "Sidewalk" because of the regard Laura is held. "Sidewalk" is more grittier, more violent and certainly darker (this is one troubled chip on the shoulder copper), in short this is big city noir and some way away from the socialite leanings of the more glossy Laura.

There's a lot of quality involved here. Preminger astutely paces the story and manages to make Dixon sympathetic, thus fully doing justice to Hecht's tough and tight script that unravels in a world of cop shops, cafés, street side apartments and underworld hang-outs. All of which is given the perfect low-key (almost seedy) photographic treatment by the always visually appealing LaShelle. The cast too are doing great work. Tierney is a beguiling beauty throughout, something that works off of Andrews' more chiselled featured and emotionally conflicted portrayal rather well. It's arguably one of Andrews' best & most convincing performances, Dixon carries around with him much pain and bitterness due to his father having been a criminal. In a perverse bit of writing, Dixon essentially finds himself investigating himself, throw in a burgeoning romance with sharp kickers attached, and, shades of patricide, then it's a character in need of depth. Andrews steps up to the plate and layers it to perfection to give noir one of its finest policeman protagonists. The rest are effective, particularly Malden, Merrill and Brand, the latter of which is the tough guy actor who isn't William Bendix!

If we have to pick flies? Then the ending carriers some Hollywoodisation baggage, and there's some implausibilities within the story. But really neither of those things stop the film from being the riveting genre offering that it is. So get out on that sidewalk with Dixon and see just what awaits us and him after Preminger has taken us for a murky stroll. 8/10
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on 22 February 2011
Mark Dixon has no redeeming features.Mark Dixon is a thug.Mark Dixon is a killer.Mark Dixon is a cop!This excellent film is one that I've fancied watching for a while and I was not disappointed.Dana Andrews in terrific as the main character and while I've read that some think his style 'wooden' and a bit featureless,for me he is perfect as the cop who hates criminals.A previous reviewer mentions 'Dirty Harry' and I feel that this comparision is not to far from the truth.As I was watching this film it struck me that Mark Dixon is not a likeable character.He is a dour,bitter man who would not think twice about beating the truth out of a suspect and, as Harry Callaghan does not go after his villians wise cracking away left,right and centre,this is the way Dana Andrews plays the lead in this film.Without giving to much away,you know,as this picture was made in 1950,that Dixon will have to face justice of some sort at the climax of the film,but the finale did take me by surprise.All in all,a terrific film and proof that Dana Andrews was a better actor than some would have others believe.Recommended.
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on 31 July 2001
...Pearl Harbour, the game, shamelessly attempts to cash in on this shambling behemoth of the big screen, but whilst the film was huge, lavish, outrageously expensive, full of ground-breaking special effects, and utterly nauseating and offensive, the game is simply utterly nauseating and offensive. The graphics engine is prehistoric, the gameplay torrid and jerky. The control interface is almost impossible - one gets the impression at times that the real thing would be easier....The historical basis is woefully innaccurate, as is the choice of planes. Basically, i'm sorry to say, this game has no discernible merit. As a history fan I'd have hoped for more. Give it a wide berth.
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on 12 November 2013
Love this old stuff that tells a story minus screams and car smashing chases. A study in evocative set direction.
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on 22 August 2002
...The graphics don't even include Pearl Harbour, or any of the US planes involved during the attack. The planes are bloody impossible to fly, and the rear gunner stations will not elevate or depress. So, if you enjoy flying for 30 seconds until your plane is shot down, this game is for you!
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on 2 August 2015
After he accidentally kills a man whilst attempting to gain information on a murder, a heavy handed cop with a brutal reputation tries to get the villain that he is convinced is guilty of the original crime, before time runs out and he is caught for his very own murder.
To make things even more complicated the estranged wife of the man he just killed falls for him, an innocent man looks set to take the tumble for the murder he committed, and to cap it all off, his new boss is out to prove a point regarding his promotion.
Will he be able to nail the mobsters before his own guilt comes to light..?

Andrews throws in a very surly performance as the tight mouthed, tough detective Dixon, with some very sound support coming by way of the excellent cast.
The story is different, it's not quite a straight noir, the (anti)hero beginning the film by opening a very dark chapter on his policing career, that is until you realise his disturbed motivations in trying to atone for the sins of his father, and even then you're not sure whether you want to like or trust the guy enough to see him succeed..
It's almost got a Spillane 'Mike Hammer' vibe to it, with his misanthropic nature.
Preminger doing a fine job at keeping the pace up, with some neat moments of unease and character claustrophobia.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would have no hesitations in recommending it.

The Bfi, UK dvd has a nice print and comes with a few small extras. Namely a short director and screenwriter biography and a trailer.

4.25/5
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on 18 February 2017
This film has an excellent pedigree - a screenplay by ace writer Ben Hecht, directed by Otto Preminger and sterling performances from all which included the re-uniting of Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney a few years after 'Laura'. However,there are no faces in misty lights here but an unrelenting story of a detective's obsession with bringing down villains by any means. This noir piece has very hard edges.

Detective Mark Dixon loathes criminals because his late Dad was a violent thief who was killed trying to shoot his way out of jail when Mark was seventeen. He wanted to become a cop because he did not want to be like his Dad. He is a loner who has trouble with his superiors because of his rough house tactics. His main target is Scalise who probably oils his way out of court predicaments by the usual methods of jury tampering, bribery and the usual mobster tactics. Scalise runs an illegal gambling scam in which rich suckers like Morrison get fleeced at the dice table (craps) mainly because they cannot leave when they are ahead. Morrison has been brought there by Paine, an ex war hero who has become a fringe gang member by using his estranged wife Morgan as a lure for the rich suckers. She wants to leave,but Paine slaps her and Morrison goes for him and was acquitting himself quite well before he is attacked by Scalise's stooges. Morrison ends up dead. This is the incident which starts this quite complex story of obsession and eventual redemption.

Dixon and partner Paul are called to the unofficial casino in a hotel with the new Lieutenant ( Karl Malden) in attendance to ensure nobody is hurt by Dixon's volatility. They get the basic facts of the situation but Mark thinks that Scalise stabbed Morrison. Having received the information that Paine was there with his wife, the Lieutenant tells Mark to find him as he's a suspect. Of course, Paine doesn't want to co-operate and attacks Mark who replies with one punch. Unfortunately, the punch has killed Paine. What remains for Mark to do is to cover up the crime by dumping the body eventually at the docks. Afterwards, Paine's apartment is visited by quite a few people at different times. The old lady who lived downstairs was disturbed at her rest too.

The main suspect, Paine has been killed but who killed him and Morrison? The lieutenant is looking for one killer as the other one is in the same building as himself. Another visitor to Paine's place was a taxi driver who had knocked on his door and called him a 'dirty rat'.T he taxi driver turns out to be Morgan's father. Dixon meets him after his first encounters with Morgan who has started to investigate his 'human' side. Mark knows that he is going to have to clear her dad which means that he will have to sacrifice himself to do it.

The dialogue-driven scenes keep up the pace if not the action of the piece. Mark somewhat mellows as the film proceeds but, although he may be on his own professionally, there emerged a light at the end of his very dark tunnel. He actually felt for Morgan. In a letter he left in his coat pocket for the Inspector to read 'To be opened at his death' it indicated how far he would go to get justice and do for Scalise permanently. He was a cop who used the mobster in him to cover up a crime, finally realizing that he was doing everything against his better nature. There was a sort of redemption of a guilt-ridden,self-loathing man engendered by love,perhaps, or by coming to terms with the man he had become.
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on 22 January 2013
preminger's camera never disappoints.it moves around in the dark,the suddenly explodes on a close up of a face.that,s what the noir story drives forward up to the unexpected end.a great classic film by a man who knows his trade.
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