WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS
1950, 20th Century Fox, 95 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

Dana Andrews gives one of his most compelling performances as an angry and haunted New York cop whose violent streak leads to the killing of an informer. His attempts to cover up the crime only dig the hole deeper, as his lies make a suspect of an innocent man - the father of the woman he loves! Ben Hecht’s terrific script, based on the novel Night Cry by Victor Trivas, provides the bedrock for one of Preminger’s best film noirs, shot by the great Joseph LaShelle (LAURA).


THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM
1955, Preminger Films, 119 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

Director Otto Preminger defied the Production Code for the second time with this first American film about drug addiction. Frank Sinatra, in the performance of his career, plays a junkie jazz drummer and card sharp torn between love for his girlfriend (Kim Novak), a sad-eyed cashier in a strip club, and loyalty to his crippled wife (Eleanor Parker). Darren McGavin (“The Night Stalker”) is the villainous heroin pusher. Shooting in the studio rather than on location, Preminger creates a richly atmospheric, lower-depths milieu. Elmer Bernstein’s moody, compelling jazz score and Saul Bass’ seductive opening titles are memorable.


ANATOMY OF A MURDER
1959, Sony Repertory, 160 min, USA, Dir: Otto Preminger

The finest courtroom drama ever made, a masterpiece of ambiguity in which the audience is the ultimate juror. James Stewart (in what is arguably his richest, certainly his most ambivalent performance) is a small-town lawyer who defends an arrogant soldier (Ben Gazzara) for the murder of his sexy wife’s supposed rapist. The characters often seem to behave inappropriately, in the process blurring the dividing line between guilt and innocence. Filmed on location in upper Michigan, in the actual locations where the real-life murder and trial took place. Superb performances from Eve Arden as Stewart’s rock-solid gal Friday, Arthur O’Connell as an alcoholic attorney, George C. Scott as a prosecutor who seems as aware as Stewart that the courtroom is a stage and that victory belongs to the best actor, and McCarthy silencer, real-life lawyer and non-actor Joseph N. Welch as a droll judge. Enhanced by a jazz score from Duke Ellington, who makes a surprise cameo appearance performing at the neighborhood juke joint.


Syndicate content