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99 River Street
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I thought I knew a fair amount about film noir....the films, the stars, the directors...but I was flabbergasted when I finally watched Phil Karlson's 'Kansas City Confidential.' What a premise! What a movie! What a director! It was the most excited I'd been since discovering the work of Anthony Mann and John Alton. I followed 'KCC' with Karlson's 'The Phenix City Story.' I liked it, but not nearly as much and thought that perhaps Mr. Karlson only had one good noir in him. Boy, was I wrong.
'99 River Street' is right up there with 'Kansas City Confidential.' It's another great premise, well executed all around. I've never seen John Payne in a better role, Evelyn Keyes is terrific and the supporting cast combines to present one of the finest collections of hard-luck faces this side of 'The Hustler.'
I watched '99 River Street' on Netflix (it's in their on-demand library) but I'm here today to buy a copy of my own. Netflix has made such odd decisions in the recent past that I don't think I want to rely on them to have this movie at their (my) disposal for long...and I know I'm going to watch it again and again. First rate stuff....and I'm going to turn over rocks to find all the Phil Karlson noir/crime movie I can so I can catch up with this guy's early work. Those who only know Phil Karlson as the guy who made 'Walk Tall' are missing a great deal of pleasure.
(This gets 4 out of 5 stars because the ending was a little cheesy. Somehow, I don't think this was Mr. Karlson's fault. But, still.....)
I am a big fan of film noir but I had not seen this film before and was surprised as to how good it is. 99 River Street has not gotten the attention or praise it deserves.
A down on his luck boxer who is hunted by the police for allegedly killing a woman - must clear his name by finding the real psychopathic killer before its to late.
99 River Street has the usual classic film noir touches that we all love: A confused and hunted-by-the-law anti-hero, at least one or maybe one and half fem fatales, an assortment of ugly underworld characters, foggy water fronts, sweaty boxing arenas, seedy cafes, dark alleys and an assortment of red herrings.
The acting by the entire cast is very good even if at times there appears to be some overacting. Ahhh but, as it turns out the overacting is deliberate and part of the story. Pretty clever on the part of the film makers.
I also noticed some very aggressive and beautifully rendered, atmospheric mat-shots scattered here and there in the film.
The well written story has some great twists and turns that had me fooled a number of times.
The only thing the film lacks is the ultra cool dead-pan dialogue found in the very top film noirs - Double Indemnity, or Murder My Sweet for example. And **spoiler** I found the ending for 99 River Street to be just a bit too nicey-nice "they lived happily ever after" for an otherwise pretty dark film noir.
All that said - I think 99 River Street should be in top twenty-five film noirs - it's a great find. I highly recommend 99 River Street for lovers of film noir.
99 River Street is about an ex-boxer who is living a down and out life as a taxi driver, with a wife who is neither supportive nor honest. Ernie (John Payne) had been barred from the ring because of a serious eye injury, so he drives to make a living. From the get go, you get the sense that his marriage is on the rocks. The big conflict comes in the form of him being set up and framed for murder by a slick and seedy con man. Along the way, an aspiring actress (Evelyn Keyes) joins him on the quest to clear his name, and to find the one responsible for the murder.
Payne does an apt job as Ernie Driscoll, a working class man of principles and ambitions, but with one major flaw—a vicious temper. Still, Ernie is a redeeming character you want to root for.
99 River Street has everything you look for in classic noir—villains and heroes, atmosphere and mood, suspense and intrigue. Great film and the quality is very good too.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great old noir--with atmosphere and artistic touches to boot--from the boxing intro that a certain Academy Award director had have to have seen years before his own picture, to the... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Joseph J. Maniscalco
Excellent casting! Love them all. Hats off to Brad Dexter, Jack Lambert and Jay Adler for playing sociopaths in such a cool manner. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mary Katherine
Great movie I enjoyed it I like older movies and wouldn't mind seeing others similar to 99 River St.Published 5 months ago by James Piazza
John Payne is a pretty good tough guy. Worth watchingPublished 5 months ago by Stephen P. Wojciechowski
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