Anthony Quinn and Anne Bancroft in The Naked Street (1955)


(director/writer: Maxwell Shane; screenwriter: from the story by Leo Katcher; cinematographer: Floyd Crosby; editor: Grant Whytock; music: Ernest Gold/Emil Newman; cast: Farley Granger (Nicky Bradna), Anthony Quinn (Phil Regal), Anne Bancroft (Rosalie Regalzyk), Peter Graves (Joe McFarland), Elsie Neft (Mrs. Regalzyk), Sara Berner (Millie), Jerry Paris (Latzi Franks), Mario Siletti (Antonio Cardini), James Flavin (attorney Michael X. Flanders), Whit Bissell (District Attorney Blaker), Joe Turkel (Shimmy), Joy Terry (Margie), Harry Tyler (I. Barricks); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edward Small; United Artists; 1955)
“An unconvincing second-rate film noir.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An unconvincing second-rate film noir directed by the mediocre Maxwell Shane (“Fear in the Night”/”Nightmare”), who mishandles the dismal story line both as director and co-writer. It’s based on the story by Leo Katcher. The film’s message is that ‘crime doesn’t pay.’

Ruthless NYC racketeer Phil Regal (Anthony Quinn) finds out his sister Rosalie Regalzyk (Anne Bancroft), still living in their childhood Brooklyn slum neighborhood with her loving but clueless widowed mother (Elsie Neft), is pregnant and the guy she loves, Nicky Bradna (Farley Granger), is set in 60 days to be executed for knifing to death a liquor store clerk named Barricks in a botched holdup. Phil strong arms the two witnesses into changing their testimony and bribes a store clerk to provide Nicky with an alibi. Thereby the DA releases Nicky and he marries Rosalie and avoids social embarrassment (you know how those slum folks react to bastards!). Instead of bringing Nicky into the rackets, which is what he desires, Phil gets him an honest job as a truck driver. When Rosalie’s baby dies at childbirth, the frustrated Phil blames Nicky. With that insult seeming the most unjust, the career criminal turns back to a life of a crime. Upset with his punky brother-in-law’s return to crime, Phil gets him sent to Sing Sing on a framed murder rap. Nick decides to tell the true story to New York Chronicle reporter Joe McFarland (Peter Graves) of how he killed Barricks and Phil intimidated the witnesses. Joe grew up in the same Brooklyn slum as Phil and is smitten with Rosalie.

It concludes in an unconvincing way, with the wheels of justice strangely turning as the cops arrive to arrest Phil for obstructing justice.

The talented cast was left seemingly on death row by the far-fetched story, the unpleasant characterizations and how flatly it was presently.