East Side, West Side (1949) follows James Mason and Barbara Stanwyck who are a happily-married couple. However, the marriage may falter if Mason cheats again. He has a weakness for only one woman - Ava Gardner, who slinks back into his life.
Gale Sondergaard plays Stanwyck's long-suffering mother who has an intriguing background in show business.
Cyd Charisse plays the girl-next-door, second generation Italian- American who is engaged to Van Heflin, a journalist who is drawn to Stanwyck. I wanted to spend more time with Charisse's family's story, but, alas, it is not to be.
My favorite is the story of a man we never see. Heflin plays Mark Dwyer who explains that he was adopted after a restaurantuer named Marco found him as a baby left in a box of Dwyer apples at his doorstep. We never see the adoptive father, but Heflin does such a great job infusing gratitude and sentiment in his brief story that you want the movie to flashback a bit to his childhood. But we don't have time.
Suddenly, the twisted triangle switches gears and becomes a murder mystery.
East Side, West Side is a taut, little drama filled with unexpected turns. You won't guess the ending.