Sunday, January 3, 2021
Race Street (1948)
Dan Gannin (Raft) is a big-time San Francisco bookie. His pal Barney Runson (William Bendix) is a police lieutenant. Dan might be a racketeer but he’s a decent guy and he’s definitely no hoodlum. Barney is an honest cop and he doesn’t approve of Dan’s operation but he doesn’t let him worry him. Maybe there are worse things than people wanting to bet on the ponies, and as long as people want to do that there are going to be bookies.
Dan is intending to retire. He’s opened a night club and he’s going to marry a swell gal named Robbie Lawrence (Marilyn Maxwell).
It’s a straightforward plot setup but there is a twist which Dan doesn’t know about yet.
Dan and Barney are both on the track of the guy behind the protection racket ad they both intend to find him first.
As to being a film noir, there’s really not much of the noir visual style here.
Content-wise there’s not much noirness in evidence either, except perhaps in the sense that Dan is a guy who was just about to get out of the rackets when all this aggravation descended upon him. But there’s only just enough to make it film noir. It’s just a noir-tinged tough-guy crime thriller really.
William Bendix is pretty good as Barney, a very ordinary rather amiable cop who knows his job and takes it seriously.
Marilyn Maxwell, a second-string star now largely forgotten, is quite adequate as Robbie. Singer-actress-cheesecake model Gale Robbins adds some glamour as Dan’s sister Elaine, a sexy canary who headlines at Dan’s new club.
Race Street is minor-league stuff to be honest, with just not enough in the plot department to make it stand out. It’s the strong cast that carries it with Raft being particularly good. I like the gruff affection between Dan and Barney, guys who’ve been friends a long time.
Race Street is a competent crime melodrama. If you’re a George Raft completist like me you’ll want to buy it, otherwise it’s worth a rental. On the whole I liked it well enough.