Movie Article

Three film noir classics

We give grades to ''Kiss of Death,'' ''Where the Sidewalk Ends,'' and ''The Dark Corner''

EW reviews three film noir classics

Whether you're drawn to Widmark's giggling killer Tommy Udo in Kiss of Death, the ''bad cop'' hero of Where the Sidewalk Ends, or The Dark Corner's crackling patois (''Thinks he's class on a stick''), Fox's latest trio of sturdy noirs gives the venetian blinds a workout. Kiss boasts location filming in New York as a stoic Victor Mature plays a con-turned-stoolie and testifies against Richard Widmark's psycho. Udo pushing a wheelchair-bound old lady down the stairs — one of the most iconic moments in all noir — is still chilling. The brutal Corner plays up class rifts, as a PI with a past (Mark Stevens) becomes the patsy for murder. His loyal secretary (a smashing Lucille Ball, who nonetheless hated making the film under irascible director Henry Hathaway) helps guide him through the far-fetched plot to an art collector (Clifton Webb, deftly recycling his waspish Laura persona). But Otto Preminger's silky direction of Sidewalk leaves the strongest impression, as a hard-boiled cop (a superb Dana Andrews) accidentally kills a suspect and then squirms while authorities railroad Gene Tierney's innocent dad. Screenwriter Ben Hecht (who also helped on Kiss) supplies memorable bits even for the character actors. EXTRAS Fine commentaries on all three, although film historian Eddie Muller's repeated digs at Tierney deserve the Udo treatment. Kiss of Death: B+ Where the Sidewalk Ends: A- The Dark Corner: B

Originally posted Dec 02, 2005 Published in issue #853 Dec 09, 2005 Order article reprints
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