THE NAKED TRUTH added its decent amount of laughs to a slew of at least 15 British comedies released in 1957. This tickler migrated to the States as Your Past Is Showing, where it nestled into 180th place with a gross of $700,000.
“I’ve always considered murder to be rather un-English. I mean, one’s got to draw the line somewhere, hasn’t one?”
Cruel cad ‘Nigel Dennis’ (Dennis Price) publishes a scandal rag. Blackmail is his shame game and his array of victims include ‘Lord Henry Mayley’ (Terry-Thomas), popular TV host ‘Wee Sonny McGregor’ (Peter Sellers), suspense author ‘Flora Ransom’ (Peggy Mount) and model ‘Melissa Right’ (Shirley Eaton). They decide to fight ruin with reckoning, the final sort.
Directed by Mario Zampi, written by Michael Pertwee, it could have been paced a bit better, and a few of the pratfall gags are a tad obvious, but the ace cast is in fine form. Terry-Thomas’ razor-precise enunciation makes his every line a smile. Since part of ‘Wee Sonny’s’ TV act employs disguises, it allows rising light Sellers to preview his gift for mimicry, impersonating ‘types’ aided by funny makeup. This was the first of five times he and the priceless Terry-Thomas worked together before Sellers became a star on his own. Formerly a singer, the distinctly appealing Shirley Eaton, 20, shows a flair for the silly; she appeared in 18 comedies before claiming everlasting international fame in Goldfinger. Best of all is delightful Peggy Mount, who, apart from much stage and TV work, did just 11 movies between 1954 and 1991: here she’s a knockoff on a sort of hyper Agatha Christie, and gets some of the best laughs in the group.
SONNY: “A bomb. Yes, a bomb will do it. You see, a bomb will blow he and his records and the barge to kingdom come – and, yet, it wouldn’t hurt anyone else. Yes! But where do we get a bomb from?” PORTER: “Well, if you only want a little one, I suppose you’d have to go to Ireland for that.”
92 minutes, with further fun from Georgina Cookson, Miles Malleson, Kenneth Griffith, Joan Sims, Moultrie Kelsall, Wilfrid Lawson.
* Among 57’s chucklers from the Mother Country: The Admirable Crichton, All At Sea, The Smallest Show On Earth, The Prince And The Showgirl, A King In New York.