There are many things to admire about Dark Streets, a film noir set against a 1930s backdrop of jazz, blues, and booze. Unfortunately, the story isn't one of them. It's your basic Chinatown-inspired tale of double crosses and femmes fatales, with dialogue that has the form of the classics but not the content. Take this exchange, for example, between a nightclub owner and the singer who has been displaced in his affections by a new girl:
HIM: You're a great belter, but we've got a real chanteuse now.
HER: She can chanteuse my ass!
Yeah. Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame you ain't.
But plot and dialogue aside (and sometimes those elements really are secondary), Dark Streets effectively creates its world in other ways. Sharone Meir's sumptuous cinematography and smooth, fluid camera movements bring the nightclub performance scenes to life, while the rest of the film plays with light, shadows, and colors. Director Rachel Samuels, in her third feature, shows a singularity of vision that will serve her well later, when she gets a better script to work with. (This one is by Wallace King, based on a play by Glenn Stewart.)