East Side, West Side (1949 film)
|East Side, West Side|
|Directed by||Mervyn Leroy|
|Produced by||Voldemar Vetluguin|
|Written by||Marcia Davenport (novel)
|Music by||Miklós Rózsa|
|Release date(s)||December 22, 1949|
|Running time||108 minutes|
East Side, West Side is a 1949 melodramatic crime film, starring Barbara Stanwyck as a wronged wife and Ava Gardner in one of her earliest roles, along with James Mason and Van Heflin. Based on a novel by Marcia Davenport and a screenplay by Isobel Lennart, the film was produced by Voldemar Vetluguin, directed by Mervyn Leroy and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Just after World War II, socialite Jessie Bourne (Barbara Stanwyck) is home alone one night in her Gramercy Park apartment on New York’s East Side when she receives a mysterious hang-up phone call. Her playboy husband Brandon (James Mason) is out enjoying himself at the Del Rio night club where young model Rosa Senta (Cyd Charisse)–who has seen and admired Jessie, who has been a customer at the dress salon where she works–admonishes Brandon for going out alone. Brandon tries to mollify Rosa, but is cut short when Brandon’s former mistress, gold-digging Isabel Lorrison (Ava Gardner), walks in. She has returned from Paris intent on rekindling the romance, but he rebuffs her, professing faithfulness to his wife. An argument ensues in which Isabel's date, wealthy Alec Dawning (Douglas Kennedy), who knows Brandon's reputation, knocks him unconscious. Brandon is rescued by Rosa, who takes him to her home to recover.
Brandon eventually returns home in the wee hours to find Jessie waiting up and tells her that he was working late, stopped for a drink, got knocked out by a drunk, but was rescued by Rosa. He explains how Rosa knows Jessie. The next morning, Jessie's friend Helen Lee (Nancy Davis) calls on her, presumably to remind her of the Lees' party that night for an intelligence officer and ex-NYPD beat cop Mark Dwyer (Van Heflin) returning to the States from post-war service in Italy. Both women have already seen the morning newspaper in which the nightclub brawl is front-page news. After much prodding, Jessie confesses to Helen that she is afraid of what will happen to her marriage with Isabel back in town. Jessie says she intends to live her life normally, including going shopping. She decides to go to the dress salon where Rosa works to hear for herself what transpired at the club. Once there, Jessie takes Rosa aside to thank her for rescuing Brandon. Rosa confirms Brandon's story -- a relief to Jessie. As thanks, Jessie offers to take Rosa to LaGuardia Airport to pick up Mark Dwyer, her returning sweetheart.
As he is leaving his office for Helen's party, Brandon is visited by Isabel, who manages to entice him to her apartment. Jessie goes to the Lees' party alone when Brandon is a no-show and becomes better acquainted with Mark. Dwyer explains that Rosa has a girlhood crush on him that she would have gotten over long ago except that he was overseas. Jessie finds out that Brandon is with Isabel, and Mark, falling hard for the more mature Jessie, offers to escort her home and remains with her until Brandon returns. Although they fight viciously upon his return, Brandon convinces Jessie of his love and proposes a trip to Virginia.
Although Isabel is being supposedly kept by Dawning, he is unfaithful to her. Dwyer later spots him out with an imposing, frosty blonde on his arm.
As she prepares to go away, Jessie is called by Isabel who asks her for a meeting at her apartment in Greenwich Village on the West Side. Mark unwittingly drives Jessie there and admits his love for her, but is he is resigned to her trying to save her marriage. During the showdown at the apartment, Jessie refuses to back down after Isabel gloats that if she calls, Brandon “will come running.” Jessie returns home and is given a message to call Brandon -- at Isabel's apartment. Suspecting she has been duped by her husband, Jessie calls. Brandon answers, telling her that he has found Isabel murdered and summoned the police. Jessie and Mark immediately return to the apartment, where Lt. Jake Jacobi (William Conrad) eventually takes Brandon downtown. At the crime scene, Mark finds a woman's broken fingernail that he traces to Alec Dawning’s private party at the Del Rio club. He determines that Alec's jealous girlfriend, Felice Backett (Beverly Michaels), committed the murder. Brandon is released, but Jessie finally realizes that she no longer loves Brandon.
- Barbara Stanwyck as Jessie Bourne
- James Mason as Brandon Bourne
- Van Heflin as Mark Dwyer
- Ava Gardner as Isabel Lorrison
- Cyd Charisse as Rosa Senta
- Nancy Davis as Helen Lee
- Gale Sondergaard as Nora Kernan
- William Conrad as Lt. Jake Jacobi
- Raymond Greenleaf as Horace Elcott Howland
- Douglas Kennedy as Alec Dawning
- Beverly Michaels as Felice Backett
- William Frawley as Bill the Bartender
- Lisa Golm as Josephine
- Tom Powers as Owen Lee
According to MGM records the film earned $1,518,000 in the US and Canada and $1,022,000 overseas resulting in a small profit to the studio of $31,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.