Reasonable Remakes: Where The Sidewalk Ends


Under The Gun is continuing our efforts to bring you more original and engaging content with REASONABLE REMAKES. Written by film-nerd Justin Proper, this column aims to highlight Hollywood’s forgotten gems and spark debate.

You see, we’ve grown tired of Hollywood rehashing ideas we’re old enough to remember. Why remake something the majority of the planet still remembers and loves deeply when there are tons of films that deserve a chance to be as great as modern technology and skill can make them? If you agree, this column is for you.



The film noir genre is a long forgotten staple of yesteryear for most moviegoers today. The black and white stories of cops and mobsters died when westerns swept through in the 60’s. The slow pacing and careful plot is a lost art in todays fast paced action and explosion movies. This doesn’t mean that we can’t take the clever plot lines from old noir movies and adapt them to the modern style of filmmaking. This is a great reason for Where The Sidewalk Ends to be remade, and no, I don’t mean the Shel Silverstein book.


Not Pictured: 1950's Film Noir


Where The Sidewalk Ends is the classic tale of a violent cop on the verge of getting demoted. Detective Dixon keeps getting in trouble for roughing up criminals, and the police chief isn’t very happy about it. After a murder that no one saw at a known gangster hideout Dixon goes to investigate one of the suspects. He arrives and the suspect is drunk, and they get in to a scuffle. Dixon punches the man, and kills him to death with his power fist, Captain Falcon style. Not knowing what to do, Dixon hides the body and poses as the suspect, leaves the apartment, takes a cab to the train station, and buys a ticket, all to set up an alibi for the dead guy. The police (and Dixon) keep investigating the original murder case until the guy Dixon killed is found in a river. Now they cops are investigating that case, and they eventually arrest the man’s father in law it looks like he’ll be convicted. Meanwhile, Dixon is doing his best to frame a gangster for the murder, but he totally fails. Eventually Dixon confesses and the movie ends because it’s the 1950’s and no one could handle a non-happy ending back then.


"If you don't confess my 1950's brain might actually explode!"


This is one of the main changes that should be made in the Where The Sidewalk Ends remake. It’s 2012, we know shit doesn’t always work out. Guilty people walk free and innocent people get jailed all the time. That’s just a fact of life. First thing that needs to be done is to change the ending. Dixon is going to get away with the murder, but he’s going to be stricken with guilt and unhappy about it for the rest of his life. Next change? Refocus the plot. There’s a lot of drawn out scenes (like most old movies) that would be condensed in a remake. This leaves a lot of extra time to fill. The framing of the gangster by Dixon should be way more important in the film. Really, most of the movie should be a battle between Dixon and the gangster. This will allow audiences to root for Dixon, as he’s still trying to put a really bad man behind bars. The gangster gets framed, Dixon gets away, credits.


Anyone with hair that slick deserves to be in jail.


So we have a modern action packed story of an angry cop who kills a suspect then frames a gangster (mob boss, whatever is hip these days). Who should direct this riveting tale? How about Ben Affleck. You saw The Town right? Clearly Affleck can direct a good crime movie. I’m sure he’s ready to dive right back in to action as a director and I can’t see a better home run for him. Hell, he could even set the movie in Boston so he could be in it with his accent. That would be a wicked good idea.


"Seriously guys, I'm from Bahstan"


Now that we have a good director at the helm, what about a male lead? There’s only one man that comes to my mind when I think “pissed off cop on the edge who will deal a little shady to protect himself”, and that man is Samuel Jackson. Remember Lakeview Terrace? Yeah, the movie wasn’t that great, but think about Jackson’s character. That character is perfect for Dixon in the Where The Sidewalk Ends remake. Just the right mix of anger and entitlement. As for the rest of the cast, they aren’t really that important (I was constantly forgetting who they were when I was watching the movie) so go ahead and throw whoever is popular or cheap at the time, as long as Jackson is in the lead people will come see it.


"What do you mean my last movie went straight to DVD!?!?!"


Digging up old plots for new movies is a Hollywood staple. It really can’t be avoided. With an interesting plot like Where The Sidewalk Ends it’s a forgivable sin. No one remembers that movie, and the plot is timeless and works great for a movie that could make a lot of money today. Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comment section below. Make sure you follow UTG Film on twitter if you love all things cinema. See you next week.


Justin Proper didn’t catch Santa this year, but he also didn’t catch The Clap, so he’s considering it a tie. You can enjoy his antics more on twitter. He’ll catch you next time St. Nick, just you wait and see…

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