Friday, July 3, 2015


I watched 99 RIVER STREET (1953) the other night (recorded from TCM). I'd never seen this minor noir before. It's a good little crime thriller that, in my opinion, is only partially a film noir due to a happy ending. It's still worth seeing if you're a film noir aficionado (like me).

John Payne stars as an ex-boxer who now works as a cab driver. His shrewish wife (Peggie Castle) constantly nags him for bigger and better things. Turns out she's two-timing Payne with a professional thief played by Brad (THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN) Dexter. Dexter's just pulled a diamond heist but he can't unload the gems due to complications. He decides to murder Castle and frame Payne for her death.

Payne finds himself on the run from both the cops and the crooks. He's aided in his quest by would-be Broadway actress Evelyn Keyes. Together, they win the day, but not before they find themselves in some tense and potentially deadly situations.

99 RIVER STREET was directed by Phil Karlson who also helmed such film noir/crime thriller standouts as KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (1952), 5 AGAINST THE HOUSE (1955), and THE PHENIX CITY STORY (1955). Later in his career he made two of the Dean Martin Matt Helm films, THE SILENCERS (1966) and THE WRECKING CREW (1969) and the original cult classic WALKING TALL (1973).

99 RIVER STREET is a tight little B film. The direction is solid and the screenplay, by Robert Smith, is good. The cast, although comprised of lesser known performers, give it their best. It's no masterpiece but it's certainly worth seeing at least once.


No comments:

Post a Comment