In Where the Sidewalk Ends, Detective Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) wants so much to escape his criminal father's legacy, he goes to elaborate measures to cover up the accidental death of a murder suspect, to which he plays a part. This cover-up leads to more flawed suspects and investigations, along with Dixon's burgeoning relationship with the deceased suspect's wife, played by Gene Tierney. External and internal struggles abound as Dixon decides how to handle his mistake.
Otto Preminger directed Where the Sidewalk Ends, and after seeing several of his films, this one also kept me interested. His works I previously viewed, Laura, Bunny Lake is Missing, Angel Face, and River of No Return, contained suspense and complex characters. Dixon and his plight certainly parallel these. Juxtaposed with Andrews and Tierney's chemistry, it all became poetry disguised as a cop movie to me. Of course, I also liked Andrews and Tierney together in Laura, so I am not surprised they deliver another top-notch film together.
I then watched The Woman in the Window, and surprisingly loved the similarities between the two films. A man and woman (Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett) brought together by an accidental murder, and subsequent cover-up, also dominates this one. Robinson plays Richard Wanley, a professor whose family leaves on vacation. While downtown with some drinking buddies, he spots an intriguing-to-him portrait of a woman displayed in a window. After a few drinks, he meets the woman, Alice Reed (Bennett), she invites him to her apartment, and a brawl between Richard and the woman's lover ensues when the lover sees Richard there. In self-defense, Richard stabs the lover, and kills him. Panicked, Richard and Alice dispose the body, and try cover their tracks as the investigation ensues.
Fritz Lang, who directed the exquisite films M and Metropolis succeeds again in my view. While The Woman in the Window is much more fast-paced than M, it is still smartly played out, with an unexpected twist at the end. Also, I love the film's details. Richard's first sighting of Alice as a reflection in the window beside her portrait seemed original, and a little eerie to me.
Like any classic film lover, this genre intrigues me, but I do not often view movies like this back-to-back. It was a fun experience. Do you like film noir? Which ones are your favorite?