Former boxing contender Ernie Driscoll (Payne) now drives a cab to make a living, much to the disgust of his ex-showgirl wife Pauline (Castle) who married him thinking he might become a champion. Wanting more excitement from life, she takes up with flashy criminal Vic Rawlins (Dexter). When she inadvertently learns too much about his business, Vic kills her and plants her body in Ernie’s cab. With the help of his wits, his fists and feisty gal pal Linda (Keyes), prime suspect Ernie has one night to clear himself and settle the biggest score of his life.
Journeyman director Karlson (“Kansas City Confidential”) pumps up the visceral brawling in the ring and on the streets to tell this gritty tale of a pugilist who is nobody’s patsy. Payne’s hangdog face and sad eyes speak to Ernie’s broken dreams, before he has the chance to redeem his dignity by solving the murder he’s being framed for. Keyes gets to showboat as a wannabe actress forced to call upon her skills in a clinch. An outstanding supporting cast (including Dexter, from “The Magnificent Seven”) raises this noir entry way above its B-movie trappings.