Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bellevue as seen in Film Noir

In Where the Sidewalk Ends, Dana Andrews as Sgt. Mark Dixon dares the bad guys to meet him, and they tell him to show up outside of Bellevue Hospital on the east river. Here he paces beneath the street lights with the towering institution over his shoulder. I enjoyed this reference to Bellevue because it gave a visual picture for the William Burroughs biography I am reading. In the late Forties, when this film was made, Burroughs' friends (Corso, Ginsberg, etc.) were frequently in and out of Bellevue for breaches of the peace and drug-induced erratic behaviors. It is still open for psychiatric emergencies. Where the Sidewalk Ends was a fantastic piece of bad-cop Noir directed by Otto Preminger, and features a Benzidrine snorting villain. Those scenes were another interesting link to Burroughs, whose wife also was a heavy user of Benzidrine inhalers. They were a product of Smith, Kline & French Labs, one of GSK's antecedents.
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