I will have a piece in the 05Sep11 issue of the New Yorker. I suppose someone (Film Forum, Anthology Archives, Lincoln Center?) is showing the ﬁlm “Where the Sidewalk Ends”? I don’t know. It was not explained to me what this was for. I was simply asked to illustrate a piece regarding the noir ﬁlm “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” It is quite different than the Shel Silverstein book of the same name, and came before it.
The ﬁlm was directed by Otto Preminger who also did the classic junkie ﬁlm “The Man with the Golden Arm” starring Frank Sinatra. And, for all you graphic design historians, featuring titles designed by the great Saul Bass.
I had never seen the ﬁlm before so I watched it this weekend. The scene I came up with does not actually occur in the movie, but I wanted something that hinted at some drama and had a relatively dynamic composition without slavishly copying an actual scene. Also I was asked to include the two main characters if possible.
If you have never seen the film I recommend it as a well crafted noir. But the ending is a bit too contrived and unconvincing. The actions of the main character implied a resolution that was more fatalistic than the mildly syrupy redemption he was granted. Sure, he didn’t mean to be bad, but he was a brute to the core and should have met a brutish fate.