Allison Hayes Double Feature : Hong Kong Confidential (1958) and Counterplot (1959)
More or less by chance I fell into a couple of Noir styled “B” flicks that featured Allison Hayes. A statuesque brunette of many curves that both Gene Barry and Forrest Tucker approved of.
In Hong Kong Confidential we have the dreaded narrator to set up our plot of government agents trying to locate the kidnapped son of an Arab King in order to secure a missile location in the nation of Themen. The Russians are the perpetrators of the boys kidnapping to ensure the King refuses the treaty and one would suspect claim the nation for their own evil doings in the days of the cold war.
By chance Gene Barry who is a U.S. Intelligence Agent stationed in Macao under the cover of being a lounge singer is put on the case by his superiors. Fortunately he’s got a case to work on because Gene is no Sinatra! With a friendly shadow in the guise of Michael Pate keeping watch over him Gene finds himself in deep with a spy ring that includes sexy Hayes and the always dangerous Philip Ahn. Neither looking very Russian.
Barry claims to be looking for partners to smuggle gold in order to get into the underworld of shadowy spies. This in turn should get him close to the kidnapped Prince. For a 67 minute feature there is plenty going on here between various agents and gunplay as Gene makes his way through the shadows of the back stages that are once again standing in for exotic Macao.
Hayes doesn’t have too much to do other than wear tight clinging dresses this time out as Gene’s main girl is Beverly Tyler. Tyler is his piano playing accompaniment who assumes that the brunette with the pouting lips is stepping out with her man. After all she has no idea that Gene is anything more than a real off key lounge singer.
As the climax approaches can our leading man save the Arabian prince and thwart the plans of the Russian empire. Can he dodge the bullets of Ahn and the deadly kisses of Hayes……. come now, you’re not that gullible are you?
Gene Barry joined the world of television westerns this same year as the title character Bat Masterson. The dapper looking lawman. Joining him in seven episodes over the shows three seasons was Miss Hayes.
Moving into Counterplot we find Forrest Tucker hiding out in San Juan as a beach bum. Back on U.S. soil he’s wanted in a murder case. Arriving by ship is the beautiful Hayes to take up a job as a lounge singer in true Noir fashion. She’s looking alot like Rita Hayworth’s Gilda. Hayes also makes the trip here to reunite with the man in her life, Mr. Tucker.
Once our lovers are back together they go about trying to find a way to prove that Tucker’s business partner back home is the real killer. They approach a shady lawyer known as The Dutchman (of course) who may be willing to take 15000 dollars to assist but isn’t above dealing cards off the bottom of the deck and taking a greater offer from the man Tucker wants to incriminate. With Tucker being played on one side by the shifty Dutchman and the cops looking to nab him on the other we’ll have to wait to the final reel to see if he’ll have a future with Hayes.
“Why do some guys have to be so honorable.” she’ll say when Tucker is willing to flea further south and leave her in the hopes she’ll have a better life without him.
Aside from our two leading players this Kurt Neumann directed affair has some pretty dreadful performances from those cast around Tucker and Hayes. On the flip side these ‘B’ films that usually played the bottom of a double bill are just about perfect when looking for a fast moving 75 minute feature to pass the time by with. This turned out to be the final film for Neumann who just previously had helmed the now classic, The Fly. He died of natural causes prior to this films release.
Tucker was a fairly well known face and would move into television like many of the lower rung stars of the day. F Troop was in his future while Miss Hayes would appear in numerous shows through the sixties including Perry Mason and Gomer Pyle. Her film career came to a close in Tickle Me with Elvis and she would sadly pass away at the young age of 46 in 1977.
Most will recall Allison from the now camp classic Attack of the 50 Foot Woman for which her figure on the film poster alone will give her everlasting fame.