[box cover]

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) is known for his brutality — it's the penance he pays for being the son of a gangster. And when he roughs up Ken Paine (Craig Stevens) it's business as usual — Paine is suspected of murdering Ted Morrison (Harry von Zell). What Dixon doesn't know is that Paine has a metal plate in his head, and when Dixon knocks him down, he inadvertently kills him. Fearing for his career, Dixon pretends to be Paine and fakes leaving town, dumping the body in a river. While the investigation on the Morrison murder continues, Dixon meets Paine's wife Morgan Taylor (Gene Tierney) and her father Jiggs Taylor (Tom Tully), both of whom were unhappy with the alcoholic Paine. But Paine was no average thug — he was a war veteran, leading to an investigation into his disappearance and death. Dixon wants to pin both murders on gangster Tommy Scalise (Gary Merrill), who was at least behind the murder of Morrison. But the police see Jiggs as the most likely suspect for Paine's death. As for Dixon, he's hard-pressed, and not just because he did it — but because he's falling for Morgan. Where the Sidewalk Ends (1940) reunited director Otto Preminger with his stars from 1944's Laura, Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney, and the film contains faint echoes of that earlier work. Both feature Andrews playing a cop and Tierney the rarefied love interest, but Sidewalk takes them into a much grittier territory. Whereas Andrews's character toed the line of necrophilia in Laura, here he's truly guilty as an accidental murderer bathed in the moral grays that define the genre. Working from a script by the adroit Ben Hecht (who also penned the noir classics Scarface and Kiss of Death and also was one of cinema's greatest script doctors), the film is well paced and smartly written, twisting its screws with Preminger's graceful precision. Also featuring early appearances by Karl Malden and Neville Brand. Fox presents Where the Sidewalk Ends in a solid full-frame transfer (1.33:1) with Dolby 2.0 stereo and mono mixes. Extras include a commentary by Tom Mueller, a stills gallery, the theatrical trailer, and bonus trailers. Keep-case.
—DSH



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