99 River Street (1953) John Unleashes The Payne With Power Punches

99 River Street (1953) John Payne movie film noir poster

Depressed and broken ex boxer Ernie Driscoll (John Payne) can’t help reminiscing back to his heyday as a prize fighter and unfortunately to that fateful day when he took a beating on the ropes. The day he damaged his eye, bringing with it the end of his boxing career. He sits there with great sadness, in his apartment, watching a rerun of the fight. Things aren’t helped for our poor Ernie as his wife Pauline (Peggie Castle) loves nothing more that belittling him, reminding him what a loser he is and how he has ruined their future.

Tagline – Rips into you like a double-crossing Dame!

99 River Street (1953) John Payne ernie boxing ring KO99 River Street (1953)Pauline (Peggie Castle) Ernie Driscoll (John Payne) taxi cab drive

He works, making ends meet, as a cabby for his good loyal friend Stan’s (Frank Faylen) taxi business but Ernie has a big dream, to manage his own petrol station. Pauline is not impressed with this ridiculous venture, besides she has other plans, she has a fancy man in the shape of Victor (Brad Dexter) a ruthless diamond thief. The devious two plan to leave poor old Ernie as soon as Victor trades in his bounty for a barrel of cash from local fence Christopher (Jay Adler), a gangster hiding behind the front of a pet shop.

99 River Street (1953) Victor (Brad Dexter) Pauline (Peggie Castle) cheating on ernie99 River Street (1953) Victor (Brad Dexter) Christopher (Jay Adler) diamonds fence gangster

Meanwhile our cabby gets caught up in a web of deceit, adding to his woes. Luckily Stan is on hand for a bit of moral support but there’s also his friend, a beautiful actress, called  Linda (Evelyn Keyes) who gets caught up helping our hero after causing a spot of bother. She’s a real star and no stranger to danger, she’ll do whatever she can to help her friend.

99 River Street (1953) Linda (Evelyn Keyes) Ernie Driscoll (John Payne) cafe acting

Unfortunately Ernie has a monstrous raging temper, it’s always brewing, ready to bubble up over the top and unleash pain down on anything in his rageful way. Unlucky for them, Christopher has two henchmen that happen to cross Ernie’s path. With hardman Mickey (Jack Lambert) giving Ernie the channel he needs to release his explosive brutality on.

99 River Street (1953) Mickey (Jack Lambert) Ernie Driscoll (John Payne) punch up

Tagline – The Picture That Lays It On The Line!

Whether he’s running about town or driving his taxi to the next destination, trouble isn’t far away, sticking by his side, Linda keeps him company but with so much going on, from the likes of gangsters, thugs and the constant threat of the police hunting him down. Poor old Ernie is in a pickle! Can he find a way out of this deep dark despair before he kills someone or gets bumped off himself?

99 River Street (1953) John Payne Stan (Frank Faylen) friendship

Can’t recommend this one highly enough, noir drama at it powerful and exciting best. It’s a frantic journey in it’s short runtime, it really packs a punch.

 A few observations

  • Directed by Phil Karlson who only the year before worked with John Payne on the equally excellent action drama, Kansas City Confidential which I reviewed last week. Make sure you check that one out, it’s another cracker.
  • Two brilliant scenes to look out for and both featuring Evelyn Keyes as Linda. Her performance at the theatre and later, flirting in the cafe are both wonderful standout moments.

99 River Street (1953) Linda (Evelyn Keyes) flirting drunk cafe

  • Love that Ernie stays in his cab uniform with his hat throughout the picture.
  • This was yet another recommend by the excellent Mikes Take On The Movies blog.
  • Not a Phil Karlson and John Payne movie but I also checked out The Crooked Way which is pretty good. Those trio of films make a good introduction to John Payne who I didn’t know until last month.

99 River Street (1953) Ernie Driscoll (John Payne) cdiving cab taxi radio

I’m sure you will enjoy this, it just picked Kansas City Confidential to the top spot for me. What do you think? Let me know if you wish.

Thanks for popping on by the wolf den and keep discovering those wonderful old films.

99 River Street (1953) John Payne movie opening credit titles screenshot


Kansas City Confidential (1952) Exploding! Like A Gun In Your Face!

Kansas City Confidential (1952) movie poster film cover

I discovered this tense, well crafted thriller after being impressed by the performance of Neville Brand in director Don Siegel’s brilliant titled and extremely taut prison drama Riot In Cell Block 11. He played the lead character, James Dunn who rebels against the prison system, demanding better living conditions for the inmates. Flicking through his filmography I noted the intriguing Kansas City Confidential directed by Phil Karlson. Neville might not be the lead in this film but he does get to play one of three great quirky bad guys.

Tagline – The Picture That Hits With BULLET FORCE And BLACKJACK FURY!

Continue reading “Kansas City Confidential (1952) Exploding! Like A Gun In Your Face!”

Dark Passage (1947) Bogart In First Person Face-Off Thriller

Dark Passage (1947) Humphrey Bogart Lauren Bacall movie poster

Was recommended this noir thriller starring husband and wife double act Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.  I for sure wasn’t expecting to be wowed by its unique take right from the get go. For this film’s first few acts are played out entirely in first person perspective. Meaning that our “hero” Vincent Parry (Humphrey Bogart) face is never seen for a big portion of the film. Filmed in a point of view (POV) style or his face being covered up. A very brave decision for the studio to have made I can imagine, not having your big star, leading man’s face on the screen. Continue reading “Dark Passage (1947) Bogart In First Person Face-Off Thriller”

The Street With No Name (1948) FBI, Gangsters, Infiltration and Informants

The Street with No Name (1948) poster movie film richard widmark

Funny how you watch one superb film and before you know it there’s two more excellent films you see connected to it and off back you go into movieland. This time it happened straight off the bat of watching the first-rate 1955 Samuel Fuller directed, Japan meets US gangster flick starring Robert Ryan called House Of Bamboo. On further investigation it revealed that the film was actually a loose remake of a 1948 Richard Widmark movie called The Street With No Name featuring the same theme of infiltrating a gangster outfit. Now I was hit by a dilemma? I can’t do every film I see, so which film gets a post? Continue reading “The Street With No Name (1948) FBI, Gangsters, Infiltration and Informants”

Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan & Hate Is Like A Loaded Gun!

Crossfire (1947) poster noir classic drama robert ryan mitchum young

Another great thing about doing this here blog is discovering actors I had previously missed. Robert Ryan is one such actor. I know his face well from a couple of classic films, two big favourites of mine too. Playing Deke Thornton in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch and Col Everett Dasher Breed in Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen but you know what I’m ashamed to say I never knew his name or filmography. Continue reading “Crossfire (1947) Robert Ryan & Hate Is Like A Loaded Gun!”

The Enforcer (1951) Cops, Contracts, Hit Men, Gangsters & Dickie Bow Ties

The Enforcer (1951) humphrey bogart cops and crime poster

Oh here we go, this is what I’m talking about, first top film buzz of 2018 straight out the gate. Humphrey Bogart plays tough assistant district attorney law enforcer Martin Ferguson taking on the gangsters of New York. A guy so badass he can turn up rocking a dickie bow tie down at the precinct with not one raised eyelid, not even a little giggle. Continue reading “The Enforcer (1951) Cops, Contracts, Hit Men, Gangsters & Dickie Bow Ties”

Edge Of The City (1957) Everyone Needs A Friend Like Sidney Poitier

Edge Of The City (1957) sidney poitier poster saul bass movie film

Went for this film mainly because of one of its stars, the delightful Sidney Poitier, a guy who oozes charisma and charm. He always lights up the screen with his presence on every single performance he gives. That broad beautiful smile warms you straight away to each of his characters he plays, displaying an unique warmth that his acting talent brings to his movies. Edge Of The City was a film of his I had never heard of let alone seen before and seeing who he was working with, I have to say I was extremely excited about this drama centered around a New York City dockland.

Edge Of The City (1957) sidney poitier opening credit titles saul bass movie film Continue reading “Edge Of The City (1957) Everyone Needs A Friend Like Sidney Poitier”

Violent Saturday (1955) What! Film Noir in Technicolour? Plus Victor Mature Movies?

Violent Saturday (1955) 20th century fox film poster cinemascope de luze colour getty image

I know there must be hundreds of noir thrillers in colour but still it felt weird not having the smokey dark backlit, black and white photography that goes so well with the genre. The thing that hits you right from the start of Violent Saturday is the simply gorgeous colour print. I read that at the time of filming it was one of the cheapest movies made using the CinemaScope wide-angle lens and the De Luxe colour print, it really shows. The photography brings out the beautiful deep bright hues in abundance.  I wasn’t expecting it, as all I had seen before hand was black and white stills from the picture. Continue reading “Violent Saturday (1955) What! Film Noir in Technicolour? Plus Victor Mature Movies?”

Private Hell 36 (1954) Dirty Harry & Super Woman Ida Lupino

Private Hell 36 (1954) movie poster one sheet ida lupino

“A policeman, unlike most men, lives close to evil and violence. He can, like all men make his own private hell. The good pass through it with minor burns, the evil stumble and fall and die in strange places”

Private Hell 36 is the story of two top LA detectives investigating a series of stolen marked $50 dollar bills which keep popping up across the city. Cal Bruner (Steve Cochran) and Jack Farnham (Howard Duff) aren’t just two tough cops, they are also close friends, each has got the others back. Surely nothing can get in the way of this close bond? Continue reading “Private Hell 36 (1954) Dirty Harry & Super Woman Ida Lupino”

Le Doulos (1963) Snitches Stitches Safe-crackers and Sombreros!

Le Doulos (1963) movie poster hat informer noir french new wave

Well maybe not Sombreros but I couldn’t think of a hat that began with S other than a Stetson and Sombreros are way more sillier. Especially if you can imagine they all did wear sombreros, it would really cut through the fog thick tension in this excellent thriller. Le Doulos is a rough old time French translation for “hat” and the hat of choice for these Parisian gangsters is the Fedora. Another translation for this is also “informer” and maybe that snitch also wears a hat! And considering most these gangsters wear a hat, who could be the finger man, the informer?

Le Doulos (1963) Jean-Pierre Melville noir french opening credit title screen shot Continue reading “Le Doulos (1963) Snitches Stitches Safe-crackers and Sombreros!”