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99 River Street (1953)

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JackFavell
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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby JackFavell » October 23rd, 2009, 8:18 am

I love that idea for a topic, Moira! ( i've been lurking)

I know that Powell was greatly inspired by Fred MacMurray's leap into serious roles, and noir in particular. Powell, after having tried for years to get decent non-boy-singer roles, saw that noir was the way to go. He had always been savvy to the fact that the boy singer fad was rapidly fading away. One can even think about Gene Kelly's career outside of musicals as times changed, he ended up doing a couple of much grittier performances that make me like him better.

I think John Payne is more believable in his tough guy roles than in the musical comedy persona, which never felt comfortable, at least to me.

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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby jdb1 » October 23rd, 2009, 8:44 am

Moira, if you start such a thread, please make sure to include lots of beefcake photos, for those of use who like such things. (Imagine beefcake photos of Dick Powell . . . . . . . Nah, maybe not.)

I've always thought that boy singer/dancers who were big and buff didn't quite look right (e.g., Payne and Van Johnson), and would have been better as comic foils rather than leading men. Dan Dailey was a big guy, but he wasn't college jock big like Payne and Johnson. I find it positively painful to watch Johnson dance - he's so massive looking. No matter how light on his feet he was, I don't find him nearly as graceful as was, say, Oliver Hardy.

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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby moira finnie » October 25th, 2009, 2:52 pm

jdb1 wrote:Moira, if you start such a thread, please make sure to include lots of beefcake photos, for those of use who like such things. (Imagine beefcake photos of Dick Powell . . . . . . . Nah, maybe not.).

Image
OOops! I'm so sorry to have missed your post earlier this week, Judith.

It's a funny thing, but I don't find Payne physically appealing as a man, but he could play a likable guy unburdened by imagination convincingly and seemed more real than most of his contemporaries in his own way. I believe he had considerable business savvy in real life and had almost finished Columbia when the Depression came along. I always had the feeling he might have posed for all those beefcake pictures just to put food on the table. The male version of "I was young and needed the money, Mister"...I believe that several Payne pics have been posted in The Women's Room thread or, if you're really interested, you might explore Google Images and just enter his name for oodles of examples of his male model days, which were receding in the rear view mirror of Payne's life by the time he was pushing a hack in 99 River Street.

Your comment about Dick Powell and beefcake reminds me of a moment in the delightful Murder, My Sweet in which an unexpected female visitor catches our sarcastic Mr. Powell in his tee shirt. I believe she expresses admiration for his form, but crikey, the poor guy doesn't even have a bicep. The strange thing is, I find his lack of apparent muscle tone and alleged "hunkiness" rather refreshing. Guess that comes from my living in the steroid and nautilus era.

I came across this very good article on Noir of the Week about 99 River Street by "The Professor", who runs the terrific noir blog, Where Danger Lives.

Uh-oh. I just came across a news item that indicates that Hulu.com is going to start charging for some of their content in 2010.

Nice while it lasted, huh?
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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby JackFavell » October 25th, 2009, 3:05 pm

WHOA!

Now see, I am stupefied that Payne's body looked like that. Under those bland forties blue tweeds, you would never guess that THAT was lurking. I guess I always think of him as that harmless guy in Miracle on 34th Street. This is the second time someone posted a picture of Mr. Payne that literally shocked me. My jaw is on the floor.

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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby moira finnie » October 25th, 2009, 3:23 pm

Oh Jackie,
Perhaps you might want to catch a very young John Payne in Star Dust (1940) with Linda Darnell on the Fox Movie Channel sometime, (sorry, it's not scheduled on there at the moment but has popped up many times in the last year). Payne plays a conceited but buff doofus who is also a nice guy-quarterback big man on campus and Linda is a teenager seeking stardom. Reportedly based in part on Darnell's own yearning for the bright lights, winning a chance to go to Hollywood, which is where she meets our Mr. P. I believe JP was in pretty good shape back then too, though I don't recall being dazzled by his physiognomy in that one. I probably missed it since I was too busy trying to catch Roland Young's scene-stealing mumbling, (Young plays a talent scout with an intriguing past).
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John and Linda striding into a bright future in Star Dust (1940).

I think I prefer him in noirs like the ones we've been discussing, some of his musicals (which really seem to have been the same musical, made repeatedly by Fox), as well as The Razor's Edge, Remember the Day and Miracle on 34th Street, but hey, to each his or her own.
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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby JackFavell » October 25th, 2009, 4:03 pm

I will keep an eye out for Star Dust - it sounds particularly intriguing with that cast.....

I honestly didn't remember he was in The Razor's Edge. My bad.

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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby Vienna » November 18th, 2012, 12:57 pm

I love 99 RIVER STREET and watch it often. One of John Payne's best performances .Only disappointment for me is Evelyn Keyes. Would have preferred Ella Raines or Gloria Grahame .
What a striking scene in the theatre early on. So unexpected.
In contrast, I've just watched Payne in THE SAXON CHARM and he was quite wooden in that.

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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby moira finnie » November 18th, 2012, 1:36 pm

Vienna wrote:I love 99 RIVER STREET and watch it often. One of John Payne's best performances .Only disappointment for me is Evelyn Keyes. Would have preferred Ella Raines or Gloria Grahame .
What a striking scene in the theatre early on. So unexpected.
In contrast, I've just watched Payne in THE SAXON CHARM and he was quite wooden in that.

I agree, Vienna. Ella Raines would have been wonderful in that part in 99 River Street, but Evelyn Keyes had quite a jittery flair for the unexpected in certain roles (The Killer That Stalked New York, The Prowler). I am sorry to admit it, but Gloria Grahame's acting lost its charm for me awhile ago when I saw her (allegedly) steamy performance in Not As a Stranger. I did like her work in In A Lonely Place very much.

I think that Ella Raines was always very selective about her roles, especially when she was under contract to Howard Hawks and later because of her marriage to a military officer. Unfortunately, that meant we have too few roles to enjoy her edgy intelligence and sleek looks.

Doesn't John Payne seem to have had three movie careers?:

1.) Musicals of the candy-colored, often very entertaining if mindless escapist variety, in which he was inoffensive (The Dolly Sisters, Springtime in the Rockies)

2.) Dramas in which his likable characters were often nice, rather dull fellows with pallid personalities but easy to empathize with despite the fact that they existed to offer a contrast to the real hero or to frame the leading ladies (The Razor's Edge, Sentimental Journey, Miracle on 34th Street)

3.) Noirs in which he was terrific (esp. when he worked with director Phil Karlson).

For years I hated Payne's guts for the hateful character he played in To the Shores of Tripoli (1942)...then I saw 99 River Street, Sentimental Journey, and Kansas City Confidential, and realized what a good actor he could be when given the right material at the right time.
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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby movieman1957 » February 23rd, 2015, 10:01 am

The Bride and I took this one in last night. I have already seen it but she was looking for noir. I've thought it a pretty good film when I first saw it. The meshing of two seemingly unrelated situations coming together and working their way through the story worked well.

I thought Payne was quite good. Looks like he knew how to throw a punch. Nothing hurt worse though than how belittled he was by his wife. Her comments cut deep. All the while setting him up better than one could imagine for what was to come later.

One thing I had forgotten but noticed during Evelyn's theater scene though overacted, later explained, is that whole thing was done without an edit.

As one mentioned it is a little hard to think that no matter how hard Payne tried to get Keyes away from him he couldn't. I guess the fact that he needed help more than he needed to be rid of her won out.

One thing I have to correct is I was caught off guard by how few noirs I own. To be corrected along the way.
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Re: 99 River Street (1953)

Postby RedRiver » February 23rd, 2015, 1:15 pm

I haven't seen this one. It looks good!


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