Southside 1-1000 (1950)

Genres - Crime, Drama, Mystery  |   Run Time - 73 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Southside 1-1000 is a good pseudo-noir film told in pseudodocumentary fashion, but it also must register as a bit of a disappointment. It's functional and all the parts fit together smoothly, making it run like a fairly well-oiled machine -- but it lacks real spark. Given director Boris Ingster's impressive work on the seminal The Stranger on the Third Floor, one expects something a bit more unusual or off the beaten path -- or at least distinctive. Instead, Southside looks like it could have been the work of any competent director. Not that there aren't rewards to the picture. Russell Harlan's cinematography is appropriately moody, capturing all of the plot elements and sticking to Ingster's quick pacing but still managing to find the time to linger for a moment on a subject and create slight discomfort. Andrea King is a delightfully heartless femme fatale, especially when she's allowed to really let loose and show her claws. And the screenplay does have a couple of twists, plus a nifty ending sequence, that capture the viewer's attention. Don DeFore may not be in the league of Humphrey Bogart, but he's a solid enough anchor. But Southside also is the victim of its times, with an anti-Communist message that is rather simplistic, and a voice-over that is often annoying. The workmanlike story also becomes rather mechanical after awhile, and the dialogue falls short of the mark on occasion. Despite its flaws, Southside is worth watching -- though many will watch it and appreciate it more for what it might have been than for what it is.