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99 River Street, Movie, 1953 IMDB

Pictures provided by: Mevan, DidierF

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Also known as:

  • A Morte Ronda o Cais (Brazil)
  • Taxi 539 antwortet nicht (Germany)
  • Taxi 539 svarer ikke (Denmark)
  • Calle River 99 (Spain)
  • L'affaire de la 99ème rue (France)
  • Nem keresed a gyilkost (Hungary)
  • Non cercate l'assassino (Italy)
  • O Crime da Rua 99 (Portugal)

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DidierF FR

2015-08-28 22:59

[Image: karlson53-99-001.jpg]

Phil Karlson is directing, a guy I met in efforts of the spy/Cold war genre, Assignment: Paris (he was uncredited) and The Secret Ways.

This a noir, absolutely. Even if the music score has melodramatic touches that made me cringe, and even with a too soft ending. The rest is very entertaining to watch, thanks to Franz Planer, director of photography, and Frank Sylos and Al Keggeris, art director et set decoratons:

[Image: karlson53-99-108.jpg][Image: karlson53-99-109.jpg]

The story, complicated with multiple betrayals, is convincingly supported by the actors.

Poor John Payne is passing through

[Image: karlson53-99-110.jpg]
very rough times,

because of arch-villain Brad Dexter

[Image: karlson53-99-017.jpg]

and no-good wife,

[Image: karlson53-99-018.jpg][Image: karlson53-99-020.jpg]
sexy and dangerous Peggie Castle. They are both very good!

The supporting cast is level with them: Frank Faylen is the nice buddy, nice and wise and caring, Jack Lambert is, well… tougher than I ever saw him. And Jay Adler… Him and Dexter have a scene only second to Percy Helton and Ralph Meeker in Aldrich's Kiss Me Deadly, two years later.

About Evelyn Keyes, who takes the female lead after ten minutes, she misleads us for 9 full minutes, from 20th to 29th minute, in a performance that made me wanna howler… until I realized I was mocked. Great moment, with tongue in cheek (I suppose) criticism (that's what I see, however) of a certain way to act (hello, Mr. Strasberg!).

Well, enough. Believe me, good stuff.

Malgré une fin gnagnan, un sacré bon petit film, petit, mais bon, avec quelques scènes étonnamment bien réussies. Je vous le recommande. Et cette Peggie Castle, que l'on voit finalement peu, crève absolument l'écran.

A last note for fun: en.wikipedia quote largely the New-York Times review of October 3, 1953 about the movie. It says "...is one of those tasteless melodramas peopled with unpleasant hoods, two-timing blondes and lots of sequences of what purports to be everyday life in the underworld. In this stale rehash, John Payne is a cabbie seething with dreams of what he might have been in the boxing world ... To say that this film is offensive would be kind; to point out that it induces an irritated boredom would be accurate. The defendants in this artistic felony are Robert Smith, the scenarist, and Phil Karlson, the director. It is interesting to ponder how Mr. Karlson managed to slip some objectionable scenes past the production code. Maybe it was just artistic license."

Bouffon !

Je suppose que ce désir de réactivation de la censure des studios qu'appelait de ses vœux monsieur le critique du NYT avait été déclenché par telle scène,

[Image: karlson53-99-075.jpg]
où Evelyn Keyes montre certain talent pour allumer sa cigarette au bout rougeoyant de celle de Brad Dexter.

(Notons que le film a deux ou trois brefs moments "torrides" tout à fait appropriés à l'histoire, mais rares en fait pour l'époque et le pays.)

-- Last edit: 2015-08-29 04:11:00

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