Bill Georgaris of TSPDT has finally decided to start updating his film noir page. This means the old version of…
The story of a love with the law at its heels!
Questioned as a murder suspect, solid (but drunk) citizen Al Willis attacks his police questioners, is beaten, and swears vengeance against them. Next night, Lieut. Parks is murdered; Willis is the only suspect in the eyes of tough Chief Conroy, who pursues him doggedly despite lack of evidence. The obsessed Conroy is dismissed from the force, but continues to harass Willis, who flees to a sleazy town on the Mexican border. Of course, Conroy follows. But which is crazy, Conroy or Willis?
Three movies for the price of one! Hayden plays the edge between obsession and determination rather well, Gloria Grahame seems to be on another planet the whole time, and Gene Barry is a lot of fun playing a lot of different things. The direction, of the performances in particular, is a little lax, but cinematographer Russell Metty does some nice things here and there with movement and light and there's so much going on that it's hard not to have a good time with it.
Noir movies are often like tales that get taller each time they are told. Naked Alibi should have been great and it turned out to be good. With a cast of Sterling Hayden, Gene Barry and Gloria Grahame the fireworks were ready to be lit. In some respects they simply fizzled. This tale of an accused cop killer who is assaulted then released and chased into Mexico by the cop who beat him has much to admire. Hayden is solid as the cold as ice cop, Gene Barry over plays it for all he's got as the criminal and Gloria Grahame does what she does best and turns on the sex appeal shaking her booty GG style. Highly enjoyable, rather unbelievable but better than most. With a much better script Naked Alibi should have been Gold but comes in as Silver. A hard movie to find and really needs a blu ray. Still recommended viewing if you can find it.
A nakedly implausible plot (not nudity though, people didn't take their clothes off in the 1950s). Police chief Joe (Sterling Hayden) is convinced that family man Willis (Gene Barry) has murdered three of his officers, despite there being absolutely no proof. He is dismissed from the police force, but continues his merciless harassment of Willis, who may not be quite as spotless as everyone else believes.
Neither of the main characters were remotely believable, it almost felt as if director Jerry Hopper had put some ideas into a hat, drawn out a few of them and decided to hash a story together from that.
Decent semi-noir crime thriller. Entertaining.
Missing from the list:
Doorway To Suspicion (1957)
Escape Route (1952)
Glory Alley (1952)
Johnny Rocco (1958)