7.2/10
2,148
36 user 28 critic

Side Street (1950)

A struggling young father-to-be gives in to temptation and impulsively steals money from the office of a shady lawyer - with catastrophic consequences.

Director:

Anthony Mann

Writers:

Sydney Boehm (story), Sydney Boehm (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Farley Granger ... Joe Norson
Cathy O'Donnell ... Ellen Norson
James Craig ... Georgie Garsell
Paul Kelly ... Captain Walter Anderson
Jean Hagen ... Harriet Sinton
Paul Harvey ... Emil Lorrison
Edmon Ryan ... Victor Backett
Charles McGraw ... Stanley Simon
Edwin Max ... Nick Drumman (as Ed Max)
Adele Jergens ... Lucille 'Lucky' Colner
Harry Bellaver ... Larry Giff
Whit Bissell ... Harold Simpsen
John Gallaudet ... Gus Heldon
Esther Somers Esther Somers ... Mrs. Malby
Harry Antrim Harry Antrim ... Mr. Malby
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Storyline

Joe Norson, a poor letter carrier with a sweet, pregnant wife, yields to momentary temptation and steals $30,000 belonging to a pair of ruthless blackmailers who won't stop at murder. After a few days of soul-searching, Joe offers to return the money, only to find that the "friend" he left it with has absconded. Now every move Joe makes plunges him deeper into trouble, as he's pursued and pursuing through the shadowy, sinister side of New York. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Where temptation lurks! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Turkish

Release Date:

22 April 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La rue de la mort See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$935,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$448,000, 31 December 1950

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$777,000, 31 December 1950
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was a failure at the box office for MGM, resulting in a loss of $467,000 ($4.86M in 2017) according to studio records. See more »

Goofs

When Joe is looking for Harriet, he is seen leaving the front of Marie's Crisis Cafe. Then in the next shot he appears to be inside the same place - note the pattern of the iron grating on the double windows and their location in each shot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Captain Walter Anderson: [voice-over] New York City: an architectural jungle where fabulous wealth and the deepest squalor live side by side. New York: the busiest, the loneliest, the kindest, and the cruelest of cities. I live here and work here. My name is Walter Anderson. I'm one of an army of twenty thousand whose job is to protect the citizens in this city of eight million. So, twenty-four hours a day you'll find our men on Park Avenue... Times Square... Central Park... Fulton Market... the subway. ...
See more »


Soundtracks

Easy to Love
(uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter (1936)
Performed by Jean Hagen (dubbed)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
textbook noir is helped by strong Anthony Mann direction and punchy dialog
19 August 2007 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Side Street opens with narration that is practically omniscient, or at least as much as a New York City cop can get, and put over a very explicitly edited sequence showing various workers and people all across the city. Then it moves right into the saga of Joe (as in 'Average Joe' one might think), who is a postal delivery man who gets tempted by greed when he realizes the same amount is left in a drawer of one of the people he drops off for- $200- which would be just enough to get some new things for his wife and their kid on the way. He takes what's in there (a little grin for when he finds the crowbar to pry open the drawer as a cat watches), but later discovers it's $30,000, which as the narrator tells us is "much too much" for Joe to even think about ever having. He hides it, but it gets switched around from the bartender he left it with, and a nefarious criminal is out to get it as well, who originally left it in the drawer. Joe is racked with guilt, but can't turn himself in all the way: he'll do into part of the seedy underbelly to get it back and clear his name.

And so goes one of those stories that one might find under the dictionary if one went to look for B-noir archetypes (A-noir would probably be Double Indemnity, if it could be considered as such). Even if the femme fatale is reduced to a supporting role (Jean Hagen as the floozy Harriet, a nightclub singer who has a great scene with Granger's Joe), you've got the existential protagonist who's down on his luck and can't stand being a criminal for too long, and the cops who are out to get him and whomever, and the real villain (George played by James Craig fairly typically) who is the most desperate of all to escape at all costs. Granger and O'Connell come close to doing a reprisal of their parts in They Live By Night, only this time with the complication of a baby thrown in right away, and the sides of good conscience always present except for an instance (really amusing) when she screams on the phone to Joe "RUN, RUN AWAY" when prodded to talk him out of what he's doing by the cops.

A lot of this, to those who are only somewhat familiar with the attitude of a solid noir thriller, isn't too surprising, and comes close to being average in story material. But it's heightened terrifically by Anthony Mann's direction; it would be one thing if material like this, which could be found in any pulp mystery magazine of the period for ten cents, was filmed with only competence and some skill in the storytelling. But many of the images in Side Street are indelible and essential for the sub-genre. If for nothing else it's a tour-de-force as far as pure film-making goes, as shots in the shadows are incredible (I loved the nightclub scene in the first images, cutting back and forth between Joe and Harriet), and the editing to go along with it is taut and hard-edged for the period and budget, particularly in the climactic chase through New York City's downtown areas. And, if nothing else should strike as a reason to see it, as far as NYC movies go it's a keeper, with the feeling as gritty as possible through the use of real streets and people and cars and accidents and dark alleys.


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