side street

Side Street (film)

Side Street (1950) is an American crime film noir directed by Anthony Mann.

The motion picture was filmed on location throughout New York City and culminated in one of the first modern car chases, prior to 1968's Bullitt. Much of the film is set in the vicinity of the long-demolished Third Avenue El, a favorite location of the few films made in the city during that era.

This film-noir features Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell for the second and last time; their earlier film was the noted noir They Live By Night (1948).

The story is of Joe Norson (Granger) is a letter carrier who feels guilty for not being able to afford the finer things for his wife, Ellie (O'Donnell).


Joe Norson lives with his in-laws and he's found work as a part-time mail carrier, but because he wants the best for his expectant wife, he rationalizes stealing what he thinks is $200 from a lawyer's office. Once home he discovers he's actually stolen $30,000 from Victor Backett (Edmund Ryan), a corrupt attorney who's just extorted the amount from a wealthy broker-patsy Emil Lorrison (Paul Harvey) he's blackmailed with the help of Lucille Colner (Adele Jergens) and a tough guy named George Garsell (James Craig).

After several days of guilt, Joe decides to try and return his ill-gotten gain, enabling Garsell, who's disposed of "Lucky" Lucille, to track him down. Joe is able to escape after discovers that the bartender Nick Drumman (Ed Max) he'd left it with has left with the money.

Joe, then finds himself a suspect in Lucky's murder and must try and track down Garsell, and does so through Garsell's girlfriend, singer Harriette Sinton (Jean Hagen). She leads Joe to Garsell, setting up a wild car chase in the streets of New York.


Critical reception

When the film was screened in New York City in 2006 as part of Film Forum's festival devoted to the "B Noir" films of the 1940s and 1950s, film critic Ed Gonzalez for Slant magazine, reviewed the film and found he liked the picture's mise en scène and screenplay, writing, "...Side Street is a triumph of visual savvy and moral exactitude—-a scurrying spectacle of dog-cat-and-mouse throughout the veiny streets of New York City. The Big Apple comes alive via a nervy mix of photojournalistic shots of people on the move and hieratic compositions that give the squeeze to Farley Granger's Joe Norton...


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