99 River Street is a classic film noir for 1953 and is directed by Phil Karlson. This is the story of a taxi driver having one pretty bad day. We get adultery, jewel theft, and murder in this single night of noir. Lets not forget our main character gets punk’d before Ashton Kutcher was a glimmer in his dad’s eye.
John Payne plays Ernie Driscoll our taxi driver, but he isn’t our average taxi driver. Driscoll was also a pretty good boxer. He damaged his eye in the ring and had to give up his boxing career. Peggie Castle plays Driscoll’s wife and was used to the high life when her husband was a boxer. Now that he is just a cab driver, her eye begins to wander. Our couple has a bit of an argument before Driscoll goes out to work for the night. He goes to his local hang out where he meets up with broadway actress Linda James played by Evelyn Keyes. She has a shot at a big acting job and is very excited. You can see Driscoll is happy for her, but at the same time sad he missed his opportunities as a boxer. He takes her to the audition and goes to get his wife a gift to make up. At this point he see’s his wife kissing another man and drives off in a hurry. Soon Linda James comes back to the hangout looking for Driscoll for help. She has murdered the director of the play and is asking for Driscoll’s help. Our story continues from there as we find out who our hero’s wife is having an affair with. A bunch of stolen jewels go missing, more than a few people are looking for our hero for a variety of reasons.
This is a great film noir in many ways. The acting is amazing, especially Evelyn Keyes’ performance. This film seems to have not been seen by many, but really should be. If you are a noir fan, go seek this one out, you won’t be disappointed.