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MARILEE EARLE IN 'STREET OF SINNERS' W/ GEORGE MONTGOMERY

Marilee Earle and George Montgomery in Street of Sinners Year: 1957
With Dana Andrews as Cult Film Freak's all-time favorite actor, and THE FEARMAKERS the favorite movie, it's hard not to fall hard for obscure ingenue/bombshell Marilee Earle, whose deep, dark, narrowed, penetrating eyes are reminiscent of Elizabeth Short i.e. The Black Dahlia — yet with a sweet voice she'd often play vulnerable characters: alongside Dana she's a kindhearted secretary and a meek pregnant wife in the cold war thriller THE LOST MISSILE...

So she really gets to shine in STREET OF SINNERS, a stage play type of B&W melodrama where everything is pushed into one setting, basically: a restaurant run by shady and not very mysteriously nefarious Nehemiah Persoff, who plays a different kind of crime boss who "runs the entire street" since he fully admits and even brags about his crooked reign, even to a much-too-old rookie cop played by George Montgomery as Johnny...

Marilee Earle and George Montgomery in Street of Sinners
Starting out as the usual cop flick involving the newbie and his veteran partner, the passive old-timer is minutes from retirement: Handing the street reigns to Montgomery, quickly waging war on Persoff's Leon, who has the street's young residents in his back pockets including future THE PARTY'S OVER actor Clifford David as Tom and the token wild card, Ricky, an amped-up climber who wants badly to be a thug, and who's also smitten with the same 19-year-old beauty that Leon has his eyes on...

That's where Marilee Earle's Nancy comes in, working hard as a waitress in what looks more like a typical daytime diner than a seedy nightclub: one that (as we learn through dialogue) turns out being the first step into the titular "sinful" lifestyle, which already happened to the bar's stock lush, and second billed starlet, Geraldine Brooks as Terry, always coming unglued and drunkenly screaming for the "kindness of strangers." But tantrums aside, while many 1950's films centering on beatnik types can be overblown and overacted, SINNERS thankfully takes it's time, somewhat...

Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff RATES: ***
Curbed by old-fashion handsome leading man Montgomery, who surprisingly flows pretty well with the otherwise visually clashing methody types: imagine a Western with John Wayne battling melancholy goateed bandits. The film's biggest problem occurs when the forced romantic element takes over: first the lush, and then the young girl, falling for Montgomery for no other reason than he's the stalwart lead...

For a modern viewer, Montgomery is difficult to root for being so perfect and lawfully sanctimonious. The most fun are the dames, and Marilee Earle's Nancy goes all out, wanting what the lush had before she became a lush, and keeping her job with Leon while avoiding him and the offbeat would-be killer's advances: she's a kind of scream queen with men instead of monsters. And yet, they're actually polite, for the most part, making her performance even more intense — she has to sell her own innocence and their guilt simultaneously. Making SINNERS somewhat of a monotonous mess, but an entertaining STREET to walk down... at least once.
Since her part's mostly cut in Hot Cars, Street of Sinners was Marilee Earle's first role
Marilee Earle, Stephen Joyce, Clifford David, George Montgomery in Street of Sinners
Stephen Joyce, Nehemiah Persoff and Marilee Earle in Street of Sinners
George Montgomery and Marilee Earle in Street of Sinners
Stephen Joyce and Marilee Earle in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and George Montgomery in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and George Montgomery in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff in Street of Sinners with Geraldine Brooks
Andra Martin in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle looking Black Dahlia-like in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and George Montgomery in Street of Sinners
Nehemiah Persoff and Diana Millay  in Street of Sinners
Marilee Earle and Nehemiah Persoff in Street of Sinners
George Montgomery, William Harrigan and Marilee Earle in STREET OF SINNERS
Marilee Earle as Ella Freed in THE LOST MISSILE from 1958
Marilee Earle as Ella Freed in THE LOST MISSILE with Kitty Kelly
Marilee Earle as Ella Freed in THE LOST MISSILE with Philip Pine
Marilee Earle as Ella Freed in THE LOST MISSILE from 1958
Marilee Earle and Danny Dennis in STREET OF SINNERS
Marilee Earle in STREET OF SINNERS
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