A surprisingly good 3rd-string noir. It didn't exactly blaze any new trails from a plot standpoint, but made the most out of what it had to work with and exceeded any expectations as the direction and some of the twists were very clever. John Payne turned out a solid performance and for as unglamorous as Evelyn Keyes was, she did a damn fine job. Very impressive...
Complex psychological interweavings of the real and the theatrical & lots of big cars in the rainy noir of LA streets. Evelyn Keyes pulls out ALL the stops - lots of wacko thryoidal Joan moments with panicking eyes! All the men are not very pretty, and quite mean! Payne is very brutal, and some quite eye-popping man to man violence Prob would have been censored in the early 50's. Such are the power of true B movies
There's a mighty unconvincing "surprise" about 1/3 of the way in that almost ruins the whole thing (B movies aren't exactly renowned for plausibility)...but John Payne owns his role, and proves he could do much more than be a decorous leading man in Betty Grable musicals.
Probably Phil Karlson's greatest film. It is unfathomable to me that this is not better known and discussed, both within noir circles and in terms of cinema of the era. 99 River Street is about as rugged and hardboiled as movies – not just noirs – of the 1950s get. I oftentimes wonder why it is not included among the canon of noir.