99 RIVER STREET
1953, Park Circus/MGM, 83 min, Dir: Phil Karlson

An aspiring actress (Evelyn Keyes) gets entangled with a washed-up boxer (John Payne) framed for the murder of his trampy wife (Peggie Castle). They’ve only got a few hours to hunt down the real killer. No director crafted rugged crime dramas bursting with violence better than director Phil Karlson, and this film (set entirely at night) is one of his best. Keyes lights up the screen and former crooner Payne is a convincing noir tough guy. With Brad Dexter, Frank Faylen, Jay Adler and Jack Lambert.


IRON MAN
1951, Universal, 81 min, USA, Dir: Joe Pevney

Jeff Chandler stars as Coke Mason, a Pennsylvania coal miner who is talked into becoming a boxer by his gambler brother (Stephen McNally). Coke’s wife (Evelyn Keyes) thinks her husband’s violent streak can make them millionaires, not caring that’s he’s becoming a villain in the public’s eyes. In the end, Coke fights for the title against … Rock Hudson! Based on the novel by W.R. Burnett and featuring Jim Backus, Joyce Holden and James Arness.


WRITTEN ON THE WIND
1956, Universal, 99 min, USA, Dir: Douglas Sirk

Commonly acknowledged as one of pantheon director Douglas Sirk’s most sublime masterworks, this tale of two friends - rich, alcoholic Robert Stack and poor, sensible Rock Hudson (who also works for him) - runs the gamut of emotions, examining the consequences of the pair’s mutual love for radiant Lauren Bacall. But Sirk doesn’t stop there as he subtly explores, through back story and character, the loneliness and spiritual degradation caused by unchecked materialism. He also manages to skillfully sidestep soap opera cliches while still delivering glossy, superior popular entertainment. Dorothy Malone won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Stack’s promiscuous sister with a long-unrequited yen for Hudson.


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