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JOHN PAYNE/PHIL KARLSON 1950'S FILM NOIR DOUBLE FEATURE

Peggie Castle w/ Brad Dexter in 99 RIVER STREET Year: 1953
99 RIVER STREET: An excellent Film Noir, the second of three directed by Phil Karlson and starring John Payne, is bookended by two boxing matches: one in the ring, playing on television in a cheap apartment, and another in a shipyard between is a stark, mazy tale of defeated slugger/cabbie John Payne, a the stock bad girl  and then tricked by the nicer dame (Evelyn Keyes), a would-be actress proving her worth on stage in a clever scene with a big twist...

But Payne, who's the good guy but no nice guy since "he broods about things... then he explodes!" says Peggie Castle as his extremely gorgeous/and extremely cheating double-crossing wife. Although he's got far more than woman trouble with niche heavies Brad Dexter and Jack Lambert on his trail... Not to mention the law for both a murder he didn't commit and a perfectly-landed punch as the pace doesn't falter and the camerawork's topnotch. And the finale fist fight at a murky shipyard, as Payne flashes back to his fighting days, is a standout. While not a boxing Noir the likes of THE SET-UP, the character's boxing champion past is part of the essence of the story deeper than most pictures connected with the sport. It's in his mind, memories, soul. "I gotta hit... I gotta hit... I gotta go back to the one thing I know how to do!" 

Heist Date: 1952 Overall Score of ***
KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL: The actor and director's first collaboration is a Wrong-man/Film Noir involving John Payne trying to redeem himself after being blamed for a successful armored car knockoff...

Featuring famous heavies Jack Elam, Neville Brand and Lee Van Cleef, it's Preston Foster's character, as the mysterious leader of the thugs, all gathered together in South America to retrieve the loot and, since they wore masks during the robbery don't know each other, adding dimension as he keeps the truth from beloved lovely daughter Colleen Gray, a law student who (along with Payne) figures things out: except her father's involvement. At times a bit sluggish, meandering within the sheer inevitability of hiding out and getting edgy and stir crazy because of it, this is a minor classic for the cast alone.
99 RIVER STREET opening credit with fantastic dockyard artwork
Evelyn Keyes with John Payne in 99 RIVER STREET
Peggie Castle in 99 RIVER STREET
Peggie Castle with Brad Dexter in 99 RIVER STREET
Peggie Castle 99 River Street Peggie Castle Brad Dexter
Peggie Castle in 99 RIVER STREET with Brad Dexter
Peggie Castle in 99 RIVER STREET
Noir heavy regular Jack Lambert with John Payne in 99 RIVER STREET
The last boxing match in 99 RIVER STREET
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