Saturday, December 19, 2015

NAKED ALIBI (1954)


This Universal International Pictures release may give you the impression it is a sequel to either “Crime Wave” or “The Big Heat.” Two of its main stars play similar roles here. In short, we have seen this one before numerous times. You will need to overlook the typical sets, a dubbed vocal and erratic plot. As in “Crime Wave,” Sterling Hayden is once again a wooden police lieutenant. Unsympathetic. Strictly business. He is bent on pinning a policeman’s murder on Gene Barry. Sympathizers of Barry believe it is nothing more than police harassment. But “Dirty Hayden” has issues. He is caught on camera roughing up Barry. The photo is published. He is fired. But he is convinced Barry is no good. He sets out to find him on a dark and grimy Mexico studio set.

Barry, the gentle owner of a local bakery, also frequents Mexico on “business trips” to reconnect with bad girl and nightclub singer, Gloria Graham. The actress with the permanent fever-blistered upper lip. Barry is not the innocent flour thrower we were led to believe, however, leading a double life as a gangster. Graham gets roughed up by Barry, depending on his temperament, but nothing like her devastating scene in “The Big Heat.” Given Graham’s early roles she should have seen this coming. As the mundane script plays out, you get the distinct feeling Hayden has got a hold of something besides Graham. You may actually end up liking him. As for the title, Barry's alibi is the bakery. Once he is apprehended he reveals himself, so to speak, to be a gangster. Naked to the underworld. Perhaps.

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