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Monday, August 15, 2016

99 River Street (1953)

A former boxer (John Payne) had his career sidelined because of an eye injury and is now working as a cab driver. His nagging wife (Peggie Castle) is bitter about their current financial status and plans on running off with a thug (Brad Dexter). But there's a double cross and then a double double cross and soon the cabbie finds himself on the run trying to prove his innocence. Directed by Phil Karlson (THE SILENCERS), this is one of those lesser known  film noirs that have slowly acquired a small cult among noir aficionados in the ensuing years. It's a tight economical piece of film making with an array of unpleasant characters. Even the hero (Payne) has a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon and the heroine (Evelyn Keyes) commits an unconscionable betrayal but that's part of the appeal of the film. These complicated disorderly characters, even the villains, desperately trying to find a way out of the chaos they find themselves thrust in. The nicely rendered B&W cinematography is by Franz Planer (BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S). With Frank Faylen, Jay Adler, Jack Lambert, Glenn Langan, Ian Wolfe and Claire Carleton.

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