(SLWB - December 07, 2011)
Story is Al Willis (Barry) is picked up for drunk & disorderly conduct without ID and is in an interrogation room at the local Police Station being questioned about some robberies. A detective lieutenant (Showalter) is questioning the belligerent Willis. A scuffle results in Barry smacking Showalter in the head with an ashtray and threatening the cops that he will get even, the two other cops in the room subdue him just as Chief of Detectives Conroy (Hayden) walks into the room.
Willis is identified as a good citizen and owner of a bakery, he apologizes for being drunk and is let go. Sometime later Showalter is gunned down in the street at a police call box. Conroy remembers Willis's threat and hauls in him in after a brief chase. Conroy (who has a reputation for brutality) develops a hard-on for Willis convinced that he is the killer, but Willis and his lawyer pull strings and Willis is released. All hell breaks loose when the other two cops in the interrogation room are killed by a car bomb and Conroy is photographed attacking Willis. Conroy looses his job but becomes obsessed with "getting" Willis stalking him around town.
Conroy stalking Willis in a stylistically Noir sequence.
Willis getting un-nerved decides to leave town and his wife (Henderson) and child to take a vacation away from Conroy. Up to this point the film effectively has you sympathizing with Willis against loose cannon Conroy, but when Willis ends up in "Border Town" and assumes a new identity and joins gal pal B-Girl chantreuse Marianna (Grahame) our perceptions change drastically.
Femme Fatale Grahame with director Hooper showing the inside of her thigh this would never pass the Hayes Code. ;-)
Grahame with both Barry
It would have helped if this film would have been shot more on actual locations as it is its almost all Universal backlot, it picks up when it moves to "Border Town" (Tijuana) and Barry is revealed, but that location looks minimally used at best, it pales in comparison to say what Welles did with Venice, California in "Touch of Evil". Its also one of those quasi Noirs that take place way too much in the sunshine for the first 3rd of the film. But Barry is way better than I was expecting (showing a lot of range), and Grahame & Hayden are great as usual, Connors plays Conroy's second in command adequately, but the budget lets this film linger in the second tier of Noirs. Graham sings a song at the bar obviously a lip-sync, but shakes that thing a bit doing it so who cares, lol. I'm a Gloria & Sterling fan so its an essential for me. 7/10