Combustible Celluloid
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With: Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, James Craig, Paul Kelly, Jean Hagen, Paul Harvey, Edmon Ryan, Charles McGraw, Edwin Max, Adele Jergens, Harry Bellaver, Whit Bissell, John Gallaudet, Esther Somers, Harry Antrim
Written by: Sydney Boehm
Directed by: Anthony Mann
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 82
Date: 03/23/1950

Side Street (1950)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Cash Clash

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Anthony Mann was on the verge of breaking away from "B" film noirs to "A" Westerns, and this was his final blow to the genre. Farley Granger plays a part-time mail carrier who spots a drawer full of cash in the office of one of his clients. He's living with his in-laws and his wife (Cathy O'Donnell) is about to have a baby, so he can certainly use some extra money. When he returns and finds the door unlocked, he decides to snatch it, without realizing that it's not a mere $200, but more like $30,000. Panicked, he tries to figure out what to do next, but everything goes wrong. Mann uses real New York locations and a lighting scheme borrowed from his earlier collaborator, cinematographer John Alton, with stark lighting streaked across the middle of the screen. All in all, it's probably a minor Mann, but still very much worth seeing. Side Street is paired in a double feature with Anthony Mann's Nicholas Ray's They Live by Night (1949), also starring Granger and O'Donnell.

See also: Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 4

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