Saturday, November 14, 2015

Race Street (1948)

*** out of 5

"What a coincidence."

George Raft stars as a bookie who wants to go straight.- if fate will let him.  William Bendix is the plainclothesman police lieutenant who is Raft's childhood friend, and who is the narrator introducing and wrapping the film. Marilyn Maxwell plays the girl for whom Raft has decided to go straight, but who may be more than she seems.

Henry Morgan plays a mutual friend of both Raft and Bendix, a gimpy guy who's had it rough, working the same underworld as Raft.  When he is brutally bumped off for refusing to join the organization of a big time operator who's moving in on everyone in town, Raft's plans to go straight may be on hold while he seeks the ones responsible, who are led by a gangster who is played with surprising toughness by Frank Faylen.

Gale Robbins is Raft's sister, a nightclub singer, who, in addition to spicing the film up with a couple of genuinely catchy tunes, fills the role of the REAL "good girl" character fighting to save Raft from his darker side.

The plot is full of all sorts of dramatic doublecrosses, including one spectacularly cold twist that is a particularly gutwrenching reveal to the audience and a painful blow to Raft.  The film is also peppered by moments of humor that give some nice emotional dynamics to the film,

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