Side Street

Farley Granger in Side Street (dir. Anthony Mann, 1950).

Granger and O'Donnell team up again for another small classic. O'Donnell doesn't have quite as much to do here as in They Live By Night, but she's still in top form, and Granger seizes his chance to shine: he is an absolutely sympathetic anti-hero, whose increasing sense of fear and desperation drives him to make ethical decisions that prove equally as disastrous as his unethical ones.

Mann is one of the pioneers of location shooting in the noir mode, and Side Street is nearly as impressive in this regard as Dassin's Naked City. A liberal application of aerial shots emphasizes the characters' haplessness and alienation as they skulk and speed down the endless maze of side streets framed by absurdly tall structures, scrambling like rats over a stolen and re-stolen bag of already-stolen money. Jean Hagen enters the film late in the action, but totally takes it over as a poetry-loving nightclub singer ("Oh, my love's like a red, red rose," she intones dreamily over a shabby little flower, shortly before playing Farley Granger for a sucker, and then getting played for a sucker herself).

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