20 October 2014 | claudio_carvalho
A Different Film Noir with Moralist Conclusion
In New York, Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) is an efficient, but violent police detective that is haunted by his past. His father was a hoodlum and Detective Dixon hates criminals. After twelve complaints on his abusive behavior, his chief, Inspector Nicholas Foley, threatens him to take his badge if he loses his temper again. Meanwhile, the gangster Tommy Scalise (Gary Merrill) has an illegal casino and loses US$ 19,000.00 in the crap game to the wealthy Mr. Ted Morrison, who was invited to the game by Kenneth "Ken" Paine (Craig Stevens) and his ex- wife Morgan Taylor (Gene Tierney). When Morgan tells that she needs to go home because she needs to work on the next morning, Paine asks her to stay and she realizes that he is using her as a decoy to take Morrison's money. Morgan tells that she will go and Paine hits her face. Morrison defends her and Paine knocks him out with a punch.
Later the police department is called by Scalise and his men and Morrison is found stabbed to death. They accuse Paine and Detective Dixon heads to his apartment to investigate. Paine is drunk and punches Dixon on the face. The detective reacts and punches Paine that falls on the floor. Soon Dixon discovers that Paine is dead and he was a war hero with many friends in the press. He plots a scheme to get rid off Paine's body and during the investigation he falls in love with Morgan. When her father becomes the prime suspect of Paine's murder, Detective Dixon lives a dilemma while hunting down Scalise.
One of the main characteristics of a film noir is the amoral story and characters. "Where the Sidewalk Ends" has a moralist conclusion totally unusual in the genre. Further, there is no femme fatale, usually an ambiguous seductive woman that manipulates her lover to do something dangerous and amoral. Therefore "Where the Sidewalk Ends" is a film noir different and also a police story. The characters are well developed and Dana Andrews is perfect in the role of a stubborn and violent detective that falls in love with the gorgeous Morgan performed by Gene Tierney. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Passos na Noite" ("Steps in the Night")