20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Karl Malden, Gary Merrill
Extras: Commentary Track, Photo Gallery, Theatrical Trailer
In their "Fox Film Noir" line of products 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has now prepared Otto Preminger's 1950 film "Where The Sidewalk Ends." It is a bad cop noir story in which hot-headed cop Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) accidentally kills a crook and then covers up his action, trying to pin it on a mob boss. As he keeps working the case he falls in love with the dead man's widow (Gene Tierney). Soon however, her own father is being accused of the killing and Dixon needs to find a way clear the man without anyone catching on to himself. If there is such a way.
This is a solid noir movie with a good cast, a great storyline and decent pacing, keeping you interested in the outcome of Dixon's muddled up actions. He is a shady protagonist that you cannot really like but also can't really dislike entirely as he is fleshed out with many subtle nuances.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents the black and white film in its original fullframe aspect ratio on the release. The transfer is generally clean, though there are occasional problems with the print. Registration is off once or twice and some frames show signs of damage and deterioration. Nothing too bothersome though, the film is definitely enjoyable and a pleasure to watch. Black levels are solid creating deep shadows and solid blacks, countered by good highlights. The compression is without problems or artifacts, and the release even comes on a dual-layer disc, making sure there is plenty of headroom to allow for a high video bitrate in order to make this a great presentation.
The audio on the disc features a stereo track as well as the original mono track of the movie. Audio sounds a bit harsh, especially dialogues, and with its limited frequency response, the music score also has certain audible limitations. Nonetheless the presentation nicely suits the film and makes for some vintage experience.
As extras the release contains a commentary track by Film Noir specialist Eddie Muller. Unfortunately the track contains way too many gaps and pauses to be of much value. While it is nice for Muller to point out various things, he never gets into intimate details about the film, its production or its history. Often you will find him reiterating what's going on on screen. A photo gallery and the movie's theatrical trailer round out the release.
"Where The Sidewalk Ends" is a great noir entry in the line that fans of the genre should check out. Once again serving it up at a low $14.95 suggested retail price you can easily pick this DVD up for under $10 and it is well worth the price of admission.