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I Died a Million TimesGangster Noir in Midcentury America$
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Robert Miklitsch

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043611

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043611.001.0001

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Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Theft, Adaptation, Prototypicality

(p.97) 4 Where the Sidewalk Ends
I Died a Million Times

Robert Miklitsch

University of Illinois Press

If John Cromwell’s The Racket (1951) remains a representative transitional instance of the rogue cop film, the subgenre cannot be reduced, thematically speaking, either to vigilante violence or governmental corruption. For instance, in Otto Preminger’s prototypical rogue cop film, Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), Mark Dixon’s encounter with criminal suspects is marked by physical violence and grim self-righteousness, although, not unlike Jim McLeod in an acknowledged model of the subgenre, Detective Story (1951), his crusading behavior derives less from some misguided notion of idealism than from the fact that his own father was a mobster. Moreover, even as Where the Sidewalk Ends radically reframes the antagonistic relation between the fugitive and cop, it situates the ultimately sympathetic figure of the policeman within the proletarian milieu of the metropolis and, in the process, reconfigures the limits of the rogue cop film.

Keywords:   rogue cop, good cop, bad cop, crime film, film noir, gangster, working class, Where the Sidewalks Ends

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