Sunday, October 4, 2009

99 River Street (1953)


99 River Street (1953) is a rarely seen Phil Karlson film featuring one of John Payne and Evelyn Keyes'  best performances. This gritty film is available in a beautiful black and white print
One of the worst looking movie posters ever may not have helped this little movie's marketability.

Is it a perfect movie or director Karlson's best work? Perhaps not, but Payne's capacity for creating an appealing character afflicted with a crippling paralysis of self-confidence and more than a touch of self-pity (seen in some interesting flashes in films as diverse as The Dolly Sisters, Sentimental Journey, The Razor's Edge and Kansas City Confidential), may never been better on screen. This may have been due in part to Payne as well as Karlson's contributions to the script, credited to George Zuckerman for story and Robert Smith for screenplay. A big, athletic looking lug, Payne's doughy, slightly hangdog face and capacity for bursts of violent action are put to good use throughout this movie as he builds a fairly nuanced character nearing the end of his tether.

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