Naked Alibi (1954)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Police Detective Film, Crime Thriller  |   Release Date - Oct 1, 1954 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

A lesser entry in the film noir world, Naked Alibi could have been a much better film. The basic set-up -- cop killer goes free due to lack of evidence and obsessed detective is determined he be brought to justice -- is solid, but it's presented in an unconvincing, pedestrian manner. There's the potential for some classic noir psychological underpinnings about the good and bad in every man, as the suspect is initially quite likeable and the detective not so; but again, this idea isn't carried out in an interesting way. Lacking any true psychological depth, the result of this is to make the viewer care for the villain and become impatient with the hero. When their personalities reverse later, it therefore doesn't ring true. Plot twists are also quite unconvincing, and characters act in an uncharacteristic manner at the drop of a hat. Jerry Hopper's direction is fairly mundane, although Russell Metty provides him with some solid cinematography that bumps up the atmosphere substantially. Alibi has a very good cast in Sterling Hayden, Gloria Grahame and Gene Barry, but the flaws in the screenplay keep them from doing their best work. The actors make Alibi worth a glance, but on the whole it's only so-so.