Your Past is Showing (1957)
aka The Naked Truth
“I’ve always considered murder to be rather un-English. I mean, one’s got to draw the line somewhere, hasn’t one? ” Another well written line for the comedy style of Terry-Thomas.
This fun screwball styled comedy is crossed with a little black humor minus the romantic angle.
Shady Dennis Price stars here as a would be editor of a magazine known as The Naked Truth. While he hasn’t actually published anything he has issues printed and ready to hit newsstands all across England. It’s a tattle tale rag that has issues devoted to exposing certain celebrities or people in higher social standings of deeds they’d rather leave in their closets. Price confronts each “mark” and offers to bury the stories and not go to publication in exchange for ten thousand pounds. In essence he’s “somewhat” legally blackmailing them. If they choose not to pay then he’ll get his money from the public when they purchase the racy articles that are sure to set tongues waging across the nation.
First up we have Terry-Thomas as an English Lord who is trying to keep what we assume to be a rather racy life in the red light districts quiet. Then there is Peter Sellers as a national television star trying to hide some incriminating deeds. Peggy Mount is an Agatha Christie styled writer with a past best left forgotten and not for the ears of her Minister husband played by the lovable Miles Malleson. The fourth mark is a young model played by the attractive Shirley Eaton.
Hijinks are sure to ensue when Peter who is a master of disguises on his network show figures he’ll just murder Price and be done with the whole thing while in costume. No one will be any the wiser. Not so when Shirley Eaton pleads her case to Price and sees the magazine copies aimed at the other marks.
Cowardly Thomas wants nothing to do with the whole scheme and would much rather pay while Eaton wants to just go to the police and expose Price for what he is. That’s the last thing the others want. Our murder mystery writer along with her daughter Joan Sims from the Carry On franchise attempt to murder Price borrowing a plot from one of her novels. It’s sure to backfire when Terry shows up at their door.
Finally teaming up the foursome wind up in a zany plot to do away with Price lead by the classic comedy of Terry and Peter. Thomas is in his glory in the type of role that he made his own. He’s somewhat of a comically styled George Sanders. Both were great in pompous styled roles. Sanders in the serious ones while Terry perfectly sending up the lecherous English cad.
For those that might only associate Sellers’ disguises with Clouseau, this effort has plenty of face changes for the genius that Peter was on screen. Peter and Terry worked together a number of times in the late fifties (see I’m All Right Jack) and it’s kind of sad that they never teamed once Sellers had made the transition to “movie star.”
Director Mario Zampa also produced here and would also direct another comedy gem with Thomas in 1959, Too Many Crooks.
The familiar mugs of Kenneth Griffith and Michael Ripper are also on hand though Griffith has a much larger part as Peter’s gopher.
While the DVD case I purchased here in Canada has the movies original title The Naked Truth splashed across the cover it’s worth noting that the actual print on the disc is titled Your Past Is Showing which was the title used in the film’s North American release.
Another fine effort in the early career of the evolving screen presence of Sellers and any opportunity to see Terry-Thomas do his thing is generally a worth while endeavor.