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Naked City - Criterion Collection
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- New, restored high-definition digital transfer
- Commentary by screenwriter Malvin Wald
- A new video interview with NYU film professor Dana Polan
- An analysis of the film's New York locations by Celluloid Skyline author James Sanders
- Footage from director Jules Dassin's 2003 appearance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Stills gallery
- Theatrical trailer
- Booklet with a new essay by Luc Sante and production notes from producer Mark Hellinger to Dassin
Top Customer Reviews
The story is simply enough - a young model is found murdered and the Homicide Squad is called in to solve the case.
Even before the murder, though, we're introduced to something new. We're given and aerial sweep and pan shot of the skyline of New York City. A voice over narrator emphatically tells us that this movie was NOT photographed in a studio; the stars perform "in the streets, in the apartment houses, in the skyscrapers of New York City itself." And so it is. No matter how well the set is designed, you can usually spot it as quickly as you can CG animation, and this ALL looks like NYC to me.
The casting is out of the ordinary, as well. I mean, Barry Fitzgerald as top-star in a crime story? Come on. Get serious. Yeah, maybe if you want a pleasant little slightly inebriated Irish chap - but a homicide detective? Yeah, right.
But it works. Fitzgerald is just right as Lt. Daniel Muldoon because this movie doesn't rely on Mike Hammer-ish brutality, or a brilliant and intuitive crime solver. I think the film makers here were looking for a cast who could meld into the city rather than rise above it, and Fitzgerald is a surprising and inspired choice.
This is a movie about dusting for fingerprints and putting evidence in plastic bags. It's about wearing out shoes interviewing potential witnesses and striking out 90% of the time. The Fitzgerald character works because he fits into the world better than a major star would have. The film-makers seem to be striving for a documentary feel to things (I trying not to use the term cinema veritie here).Read more ›
But after World War II public taste began to change. Things that could only be hinted at in earlier films could now be more directly stated, and as audiences clamored for a more gritty realism the glossy sophistication of 1940s Noir fell out of fashion. The result was a new style of Noir--photographed in a grainier way, more direct, more brutal, and even less sympathetic to its characters. And the 1948 THE NAKED CITY was among the first to turn the tide. The sophisticated gumshoe, slinky gun moll, and glossy production values were gone; this film felt more like something you might read in a particularly lurid "true detective" tabloid.
In an era when most films were shot on Hollywood backlots, THE NAKED CITY was actually filmed in New York--and while filmmakers could film with hidden cameras sound technology of the day posed a problem. But producer Mark Hellinger turned the problem into an asset: the film would be narrated, adding to the documentary-like style of the cinematography and story. (Hellinger performed the narrative himself, and his sharp delivery is extremely effective.Read more ›
Some critics have compared THE NAKED CITY with the realist italian movies of this period, with Vittorio de Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF for instance. Anyway, the final chase which will end on the Brooklyn bridge is already part of Movie History.
Jules Dassin's interest for social questions can be observed in various scenes of THE NAKED CITY : Howard Duff's desperate efforts to join the high society, the enlightening story of the murdered girl, the constant opposition between the world of the workers and the world of the rich.
Audio and images are of VHS quality and the master was not of the highest quality. Filmographies of Jules Dassin and Barry Fitzgerald as bonus features.
A DVD for your library if you're a film noir fan.
My father, John De Cuir, was the Art Director on this film and I remember his recounting the cast and crew adventures of shooting an "on location" film at that time.
Also, I recall his account of how he stayed up all night the night before the bridge shoot, hand drawing each story-board angle of that famous last chase scene (it was a "new" ending to the script), and figuring out how to position the camera to achieve those extreme angles so they would not waste a moment of their "stolen" limited time on that bridge. It had to be so exciting and freeing for them to film entirely on location.
The Academy did a tribute to him at the Director's Guild a few years back and screened this film as an example of his "early" black and white work and THE KING AND I as a very different example of his contrasting work Cinemascope in musicals.
Fascinating and pioneering stuff for that time.
Go Pop! Brag. brag.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great movie, they just don't make them like this, any more. No special effect or computer enhancements, just plain potograhy. And black and white at that! Read morePublished 17 days ago by Melvin Taylor
It came from London and can't be played in my DVD. different system overseas, I'm made to understand. don't order from a source overseasPublished 4 months ago by kevin olds
Could have been made as a pretty good bona fide film noir, but instead it was done as a "police procedural" complete with silly narration. What a waste.Published 6 months ago by Peter F.
Very good movie. I was surprised though that it is not as good as the television series. Takes a while to get into. Good acting though.Published 7 months ago by Aukake Jaye
A classic noir at a good price
New DVD just made available
Detailed portrait around the murder of a sophisticated lady who was part of a gang prepares us a fabulous Noir where the main star is N.Y.C. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela