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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a fan of Naked City and the opportunity it offers some gifted
character actors to play a starring role. In this episode, that star is
Myron McCormick, who plays a teacher whose gift to his students is
stern honesty. In his capable hands, this stern teacher shows more love
toward his troubled student than his gangster father, well-played by
Richard Conte. Once the boy admires the teacher, the father sees a
rival and sets out to tempt him and succeeds.
This is not much of a crime fighting episode. We hardly see our beloved detectives. This is a battle between good and evil, with references to Faust.
Spoilers--We find out the teacher is not invulnerable. He has a weakness for a beautiful young showgirl, given and suddenly taken away by the gangster. Driven to murdering her, an act covered up by the power of the gangster, McCormick is now owned, body and soul. This gangster has succeeded in getting what he wanted: false A grades on his son's report card so he doesn't lose custody of him. He is content to destroy two lives for a report card.
But not a third life. Stern love and integrity win out in a moving way.
***SPOILERS*** Very confusing "Naked City" episode in that it jumps
from present to past in a number of scenes that you start to lose your
bearings in following it. This really schmuckie grad school teacher Mr.
Marlow, Myron McCormick, is being pressured by big time hoodlum Phil
Clifford, Richard Conte, in giving his trouble making 12 year old son
Allen, Ben Herrman, not just passing grades but straight A's in his
schoolwork. That in order to keep him from being given over by the
family court to his kind and caring Aunt Beatrice, Anne Seymour. Aunt
Beatrice want's to keep little Allen from turning into a crime boss in
his old man's image when he grows up!
What Clifford does is constantly try to get Marlow to give his failing in school son high grades that he at first seems to avoid doing. It's later that we see Marlow act like a scared rabbit when Clifford enters his classroom and makes him look like a gutless coward in front of his astonished ,in the sudden change in Marlow's demeanor, son Allen! It's later explained in a number of flashbacks that are made to look, by seeming to be in the present, like their not that Cliffod got something on the foolish old man that he's blackmailing him with! It's this going back and forth in time without giving the audience a clue to what's happening that makes the episode almost unwatchable!
***SPOILERS*** The what at first seemed like the straight as an arrow Marlow falls heads over heels for this gorgeous doll or showgirl Helen, Jennifer Billingsly, that Clifford offered him as a bribe or present to get his boy passing marks. It was Hellen who ended up getting strangled by an outrages Marlow, who seemed at the time to be too drunk to even stand on his feet, for breaking up with him because he didn't come through in giving Allen passing marks. Now with a murder rap hanging over his head and Clifford puling his strings Marlow becomes a slave to his every command in order to keep from him ending up in the state's electric chair! That explains the sudden change in Marlow in the scenes we see him in after he murdered Hellen where were shown out of sequence!
Finally realizing what a jerk he is and how he was manipulated, with booze & broads, to end up murdering Hellen Marlow gives himself up to the police and is ready to face the music. With Chifford & son holding the bag in that whatever he did for Allen in getting him passing grads is now null & void! In Marlow being an admitted murderer where he didn't, if it's any consolation to his victim, have to stand trial for his crime.
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