Side Street directed by Anthony Mann begins with some of that annoying narration that film noir’s taking place in New York tend to have. It’s quite unnecessary, in fact it’s like Sesame Street. We are shown a B and the narrator tells us that we are seeing a B. Once you get past that narration at the beginning, it drops away and you are left with a pretty entertaining noir filled with more low angle shots than I can recall in most film noirs.

Low Angle Shot

The movie is about a poor guy, played by Farley Granger, who is working as a temporary letter carrier. Recently an old man was blackmailed by a woman and her mysterious partners. Her body ends up in the harbor and while Granger is delivering mail to a lawyer’s office he sees a gentleman drop a couple of hundreds on his way to a filing cabinet. Desperate for cash, when he returns the next day to find the office unoccupied but open for his delivery, he breaks into the filing cabinet and takes the satchel.

When he opens the satchel later, he discovers that he has actually stolen $30,000: the blackmail money. After returning to the office to confess he finds that the filing cabinet has disappeared and the attorney doesn’t know what he is talking about. Of course they do know, but they are afraid of admitting to anything. The remainder of the film follows Granger as he tries to get out of the situation while protecting his girl who has gone into labor and had a child during the course of the film.

Like I mentioned before, there are a lot of low angle shots and it is clear that the use of expressionist lighting hadn’t left noirs by 1950. Don’t expect anything profound or a Maltese Falcon level noir. Just a entertaining ~80 minutes from a great director. I recommend it.

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