kick-ass (matthew vaughn, 2010)
cold war (pavel pawlikowski, 2018)

where the sidewalk ends (otto preminger, 1950)

The fifth and last time Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney starred together, and this time, Otto Preminger, who directed them in Laura, is back in charge. It's a decent film that turns up on a lot of film noir best-of lists. Laura is more highly regarded, but I think the two films are about equally good (admittedly, I find Laura to be overrated). Ben Hecht wrote the screenplay. A lot of future TV actors turn up: Karl Malden, Craig Stevens, Neville Brand. Maybe the most interesting is Gary Merrill as gangster Tommy Scalise, the same year he was in All About Eve. Scalise has a habit of pulling out a nasal inhaler, for no apparent reason ... the story is that Scalise was intended to  be a drug addict, but the Production Code wouldn't have it, so they snuck in his addiction via Benzedrine.

The police do not come across well in Where the Sidewalk Ends. They seem obsessed with chain of command, and Dana Andrews' detective Mark Dixon is a violent man with several chips on his shoulder. (The character is reminiscent of Dirty Harry Callahan ... Andrews is a better actor than Clint Eastwood, but Eastwood gets the unsettling feel of the violent cop in ways Andrews can't match.)

The plot doesn't always make sense. It's easy enough to follow, but you don't want to think to much about why the characters do what they do (answer: if they acted differently, there would be no movie). Mark Dixon accidentally does something that goes bad; at that point, anything is possible, including that Dixon admits what happened and takes what might be a bit of a slap on the wrists. Instead, Dixon makes things worse, giving the movie a reason to exist.

I'm being too harsh. Where the Sidewalk Ends flows nicely, and the performances are good. Fans of Laura should definitely check it out.

t

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