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Race Street

Race Street(1948)

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teaser Race Street (1948)

Race Street [1948] is a gritty crime drama that stars George Raft as Dan Gannin, a San Francisco bookie who wants to turn his back on the underworld and marry his gorgeous girlfriend Robbie (Marilyn Maxwell). However, when one of his cohorts (Henry "Harry" Morgan) is murdered by East coast gangsters, Gannin seeks revenge.

Based on a serialized story of the same title by Maurice Davis that originally appeared in Turf and Sport Digest in the mid-1940s, Race Street was familiar territory for George Raft who had made a career out of playing tough guys in the 1930s and 40s. The film came during a period where Raft's career was on the decline. While still popular, Raft was now in his 50s and was no longer the box office draw that he had once been.

Race Street may be typical of the mediocre crime dramas Raft made during the late forties and beyond but it has its points of interest. Marilyn Maxwell, usually a blonde, is a brunette here which turns out to be one of the film's red herrings. Frank Faylen, best known for his role on the TV series, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis [1959-1963], makes a particularly vicious villain, and one just as sadistic as the male orderly he played in The Lost Weekend [1945]. The cinematography, courtesy of cameraman J. Roy Hunt (The Devil Thumbs a Ride [1947], Crossfire [1947]), is often quite striking, conveying a film noir mood of impending doom. The other points of interest, especially if you have an interest in San Francisco's past, are the evocative glimpses of the city circa 1948 The RKO Golden Palace theatre (it has since been renovated as a performing arts center), The Owl Drug Co. (long since replaced by The Gap), The Cliff House, and the Fairmont Hotel (showcased in many films, especially Hitchcock's Vertigo).

Producer: Nat Holt
Director: Edwin L. Marin
Screenplay: Martin Rackin; Maurice Davis (story)
Cinematography: J. Roy Hunt
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino, Walter E. Keller
Music: Roy Webb
Film Editing: Sam E. Beetley
Cast: George Raft (Daniel J. 'Dan' Gannin), William Bendix (Lt. Barney Runson), Marilyn Maxwell (Robbie Lawrence), Frank Faylen (Phil Dickson), Henry Morgan (Hal Towers), Gale Robbins (Elaine Gannin), Cully Richards (Mike Hadley), Mack Gray (Stringy), Russell Hicks (Easy Mason), Richard Powers (Al), William Forrest (Nick Walters), Jim Nolan (Herbie), George Turner (Dixie), Richard Benedict (Sam), Dean White (Big Jack)
BW-79m.

by Andrea Passafiume

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