The Naked Truth Review
A sleazy publisher (Dennis Price) is making a few business calls to famous celebrities and eminent politicians. He thinks they may be interested in a new magazine he is editing – “The Naked Truth”, a celebrity gossip and scandal magazine in which shady aspects of their lives are revealed for all to read. The stories contained in the magazine certainly have an impact on the people concerned, many of them attempting to kill themselves before the hidden secrets in the lives are exposed, but for the sum of £10,000, Mr Dennis guarantees that the stories will not be published. A number of people however won’t take this blackmailing scheme lying down – actor Wee Sonny MacGregor (Peter Sellers), Lord Mayley (Terry-Thomas) and writer Flora Ransom (Peggy Mount) – who separately, and much to the confusion of the other parties, set about various schemes to bump off the crook.
“Rather vulgar title, isn’t it?”, says Terry-Thomas when confronted with the scandal magazine “The Naked Truth” for the first time, and indeed even as a film title it was probably deemed a little too racy and renamed, rather woefully, as Your Past Is Showing in the United States. There is however nothing at all racy about this relatively straightforward and often silly romp which surprisingly, with the calibre of the cast involved, turns out to be rather prosaic and predictable comedy of errors. In fact the best thing the film has going for it is the fabulous cast of English character actors – none of them really stretching themselves, but each quite capably playing to their standard types. Peter Sellers, in an early role playing an actor-impersonator relies on his talent for creating funny characters and has a ball dressing up in disguises to perform various exaggerated caricatures (he is particularly funny pretending to be an Irishman who goes into a pub to obtain some explosives), while Terry-Thomas puts on his finest leer as a cowardly, womanising, upper-class scoundrel. Neither however raises their game quite as well as Peggy Mount’ with her stentorian schoolmarm routines. With a prim and proper daughter Ethel (Joan Sims) who is prone to hysterics to work off, she just about steals the show, showing more enthusiasm for the predictable plotting – particularly in her relentless quest to obtain some “Micky Finns” – than it really deserves.
Although the film was released in America as Your Past Is Showing, and the opening titles of the film retain this naming, the film is released on Region 1 DVD under the original English title The Naked Truth. Typically for an MGM back-catalogue release the quality is rather slapdash. The widescreen 1.66:1 aspect ratio is annoyingly, but not unexpectedly, letterboxed rather than given an anamorphic transfer.
The quality of the print itself is rather poor, showing interlacing or combing throughout. Black and white tones are reasonably good, but the overall tone is too bright and there is no great detail in the blacks. Day-for-night scenes look particularly murky. To cap it all the transfer suffers from long speckling scratches down the whole of the print. Dialogue on the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is relatively clear, if a little rough around the edges. English hard of hearing subtitles are provided, but are in yellow-coloured font, which always looks bad on a black and white film. There are no extra features of any kind.
The Naked Truth is enlivened only by the presence of some of Britain’s best comedy actors – Peter Sellers, Terry-Thomas and Peggy Mount – whose presence just about makes this otherwise routine and predictable comedy of errors just about watchable. Watchable is also just about the kindest thing I can say about MGM’s presentation of the film on DVD.