HONG KONG CONFIDENTIAL. United Artists, 1958. Gene Barry, Beverly Tyler, Allison Hayes, Ed Kemmer, Michael Pate, Philip Ahn. Director: Edward L. Cahn.

   The only reason I can suggest to you as to why you might want to see this poor excuse for an espionage thriller is the presence of Allison Hayes, she of the slinky pantsuit and the deliciously arched eyebrows. Unless, of course, you’re a Gene Barry fan, in which you will not want to miss him doing a song and dance routine in his alter ego role as a nightclub performer.

   The plot, a threadbare one to say the least, has to do with the kidnapped son of the leader of the ruler of a small Arab nation in the Mideast where the Russians are stirring up trouble. How secret agent Casey Reed (Barry) connects up that essence of story with a cheap gang of gold smugglers in Hong Kong is something I seemed to have missed. Luckily for those of us still watching, Allison Hayes is Casey’s contact person with gang of thieves, much to dismay of Beverly Tyler, who plays Casey’s piano player and who is not so secretly in love with him.

   This is one of those sadly inadequate movies in which a narrator is needed to pitch in and help cover up the gaps between scenes, doing his best to explain what Casey is thinking every step of the way as he tries to work his way into the gang’s good graces.

   While I can’t otherwise recommend this movie, I did watch it all the way through, and that’s a fact. I wish I could say more, but this shorter than usual review will have to do.