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Naked City: The Complete Series
DVD | Box Set
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There are eight million stories in the Naked City…
Now available for the first time ever, experience the complete series hailed as “Not just another cop show” by Time Magazine. One of the most innovative police shows in television history, NAKED CITY puts a human face on crime, going beyond a simplistic portrayal of good vs. evil to delve into the complex personal dramas of the people involved. This collection contains all 4 seasons (138 episodes) on 29 DVDs from the acclaimed Emmy® Award-winning classic TV series.
Featured Guest Stars: Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, William Shatner, Christopher Walken, Jean Stapleton, Carroll O’Connor, Jon Voight, Jack Klugman, Dennis Hopper, Martin Sheen, Robert Loggia, Robert Redford, Leslie Nielsen, Tom Bosley, Peter Fonda, Alan Alda, James Caan, Doris Roberts, Suzanne Pleshette, Ed Asner, Walter Matthau, Burgess Meredith, Rip Torn, Peter Falk, Diane Ladd, Mickey Rooney, George C. Scott, James Coburn, Vic Morrow, Rod Steiger, Telly Savalas, George Segal, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam and many more.
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I pre-ordered the complete series here on Amazon and have now had a chance to open it, examine the packaging, check the discs, and play a couple from the first (30 min) and second (1 hr) seasons. Here are my impressions:
DISCS AND PACKAGING: The discs are singled sided, that's a big plus with me right off the bat. Each season is in a plastic case, and all four cases are in a cardboard box. For some reason, cases holding seasons one and four snap shut nicely, but seasons two and three don't snap shut worth a darn, annoying but not a big deal. The cases and discs holders work pretty well to keep the discs protected. I put 7 discs from seasons one and two in my Sony DVD player and all loaded properly and played when selected. The menus on the discs are simple, but got the job done.
VIDEO AND AUDIO QUALITY: As noted in other reviews, season one episodes (30 minutes) lack the quality of later seasons. The video and audio quality of the episodes, both 1/2 hr and 1hr, vary quite a bit. Some are very good (pretty close to excellent) and others are not. They appear not to have been remastered, thus it seems to depend on how well the print of the episode was stored and has held up. None were what I would call poor, but one or two were good minus. But, considering that when the series was originally aired, we had a 13" Hoffman B&W television with a roof antenna, they're probably better than what I would have seen in the early 1960s.
I pre-ordered a set on October 19th at the $99 price. I don't know what happen, but sometime around October 27, I noticed the price on my pre-order had gone down to $25.48, WOW! I immediately ordered another set as a Christmas gift. So, I got two for $25.48 each. At that price, the set, even though not remastered, is a screaming deal. Because of the hit or miss quality of the episodes, had I paid a hundred dollars for the set I would have considered returning it for a refund. I'm not sure I would have actually returned it, but I would have "considered" it. Nonetheless, at $25.48, it's more than worth it.
QUALITY OF THE SHOW ITSELF: From the episodes I viewed, this was a great show . . . and still appears to be so. I will enjoy watching it over the next couple of years (one or two episodes a week) during my retirement. And for me, they'll be FIRST RUN! Cool.
*** ADDED January 27, 2014 ***
I've now viewed half of season one. I'm moving my rating to four and a half stars. This is simply great television. The video is not that bad at all. Besides, if it was too good, I might forget it's 55 years old. Not only is it better than most of the series offered on network televion today, you get a full 25 minutes instead of the 22 currently offered. I'm looking forward to season two where I'll get 50 minutes instead of 44.
I could not find anything much wrong with the picture quality. A few grainy episodes but nothing to complain about.
This was an excellent series.Probably, the first of it's kind to be shot on location on the streets of New York instead of in the studio. The first season are the 30 minute episodes before they took it to the hour -long format in season 2. The first season starred John McIntire from "Wagon Train" and "The Virginian". James Franciscus from "Longstreet" the TV series where he played a blind Private Eye, plays the young sidekick and Harry Bellaver plays Detective Arcaro which he would play throughout the entire series.John McIntire and James Franciscus would not continue their roles with McIntire's character being killed off halfway through season one.Maybe the first time that a main character on a series would be killed off.
The second season would see Horace MacMahon as Lt Parker and Paul Burke as Adam Flint joining the show for the rest of it's run. High production values with intriguing story lines and a cast of well known names as well as new ones that became household names like Dustin Hoffman and Robert Duvall would appear.
There are some kooky episodes where you wonder what the writers were thinking when they wrote them but the majority are brilliant.Even the shows that are not that great will hold your attention with the guest stars.One episode has William Shatner from "Star Trek" playing a burmese sailor.His accent has to be heard to be believed or maybe not.
Below follows some of the episodes that are my personal favourites:
DOWN THE LONG NIGHT
Leslie Nielson [The Naked Gun] plays a man hounded by another man who blames him for the death of his family.But did he do it and why?
LANDSCAPE WITH DEAD FIGURES
Artwork of a man who was presumed dead for 20 years is up for auction.But the man is still alive and has just escaped from an asylum.
A HOLE IN THE CITY
Robert Duvall, on the last day of his life hides out at his aunt's place with two cellmates taking people hostage.The aunt is played by Sylvia Sidney a movie star from the 1930's last seen in "Damien Omen 2"
A MEMORY OF CRYING
A sad story of a man who does not know how to feel until his young wife dies in childbirth and now who refuses to accept her death. Marvellous performance by Luther Adler
NEW YORK TO L.A.
Adam Flint and another detective played by Ed Asner [Lou Grant"] travel to L.A. to bring back two killers to stand trial in New York.But things don't go to plan as Asner is shot in the neck anf Flint has to track down the brother who survived the shoot out and is on the run.The brothers are played by Robert Blake ["Baretta'] and Frank Sutton [ Gomer Pyle"]
MAKE BELIEVE MAN
A vagrant who disappeared 19 years ago is kidnapped and used as an American Colonel who helped with a revolution years earlier as he bears a striking resemblance to the Colonel.
But will he make it out alive now he has returned to the land of the living.Chester Morris who was a star of the 1930's plays the vagrant.
TAKE AND PUT
A funny episode to end season two. A story of a once well to do family who have fallen on hard times and their maid who steals for them.
Horace MacMahon gives a splendid performance as the slow burning Lt Parker whose two detectives, Flint and Arcaro, like and feel sorry for the family but who Parker describes as a bunch of Peter Pan's.
THE CORPSE RAN DOWN MULBERRY STREET
A hearse carrying a corpse all the way from Italy is hit by a truck.The driver,Al Lewis [Grandpa Munster] from "The Munsters" is killed instantly but the corpse jumps out of the coffin and runs down the street.Played by Sorrell Booke [Boss Hogg] from "The Dukes of Hazzard".
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MEN IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
Richard Conte plays a gangster who's 12 year-old son has received a below passing grade in school.The relatives of the boy want him taken away from his father as they consider him a bad influence. What will the gangster do. Will he entice ,bribe or threaten the teacher to change the grade to an A. Will the teacher stand up for his beliefs and conscience or will he succumb to the pressure put upon him.And what of the boy?
A CASE STUDY OF TWO SAVAGES
Arcaro is wounded in a senseless shooting.While he lies critical in hospital the two Bonnie and Clyde newlyweds who shot him played by Rip Torn and Tuesday Weld ,continue their rampage across the city.
THE TRAGIC SUCCESS OF ALFRED TILOFF
Alfred Tiloff, played by Jack Klugman ["Quincy", "The Odd Couple"], has been a loser all his life.But, now thanks to his wife, Alfy is a success. Successfully kidnapping a little girl and holding her for $25,000 ransom.
But can Alfy allow the little girl to be killed or will he sacrifice himself to save her.
THE FINGERS OF HENRI TOURELLE
Luther Adler plays a man found murdered in his office.But who killed him and why and where is the murder weapon and a missing piece of a puzzle? Is he laughing at them from beyond the grave?
THE MAN WHO KILLS THE ANTS IS COMING TODAY
A sad tale of a patrolman who is on the breadline see's his whole family life unravelling around him and cracks under the pressure's of life taking the whole of the 65th precinct hostage including Lt Parker.
THE ONE MARKED HOT GIVES COLD
A young boy named L. Childe, the L stands for Love, is put in an orphanage by his father.The mother is deceased. Years later the boy now a man played by Robert Duvall returns, having grown to mistrust the world, he is prone to violence and has committed murder. He breaks into the orphanage to look for his files and to find his father. For what purpose?. To seek vengeance or to seek the love he has gone without for so long.
He is now also falsely charged with child molestation by a jealous landlady who he rebukes but who knows that his only friend is a 12 year old girl who only see's good in him
AND IF ANY ARE FROZEN, WARM THEM.
A light-hearted episode about three elderly Romanian gentleman who hatch a plan to rob a bank. Lt Parker puts his two officers, Flint and Arcaro, on duty to cover the Romanian wedding of the leader of the group.It happens that Romanian wedding celebrations last three days and nights.
Funny scene when Lt Parker goes to see how his men are getting on and finds Flint swigging from a jug of wine and Arcaro dancing with a fat Romanian woman. When spotted Arcaro escapes to the banquet table while Flint tries to explain to Lt Parker that it would have been rude to refuse to drink as it is customary.When Arcaro says that the dancing woman would not let go of him,Lt Parker replies "Of course not.Where else would she find a prize like you"
THE KING OF VENUS WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU
Jack Warden ["Crazy like a Fox"] plays a murderer on the run.He hides out in an abandoned water tower where he comes across an 11- year old boy who calls himself "The king of Venus". The man needs the boy's help to escape over the rooftops to safety.The lonely boy begins to see the man as some sort of father figure.Will he help the man escape?
KILL ME WHILE I'M YOUNG SO I CAN DIE HAPPY
This episode involves Arcaro,[ Harry Bellaver]. When a man of Frank's years falls in love will it end happily or will it end tragically. When a jumper, played by Maureen Stapleton, is saved from committing suicide Arcaro begins to feel something for her.But why was she trying to kill herself?
A HORSE HAS A BIG HEAD.LET HIM WORRY
A story of courage and determination. A small boy,registered as legally blind, gets cut off from his school group on the streets of New York. He now tries to make it home from Manhattan to Brooklyn by himself.But is he able to achieve this all alone.
N.B one of the boys with a patch over a lens on his glasses [Tommy Norden] and another boy seen later on in a gang [Luke Halpin] would two years later act together as brothers in a series of their own as Sandy and Bud Ricks on the TV series "Flipper"
MAN WITHOUT A SKIN
George Segal plays a hot-shot detective who put's his life as well as his partner's in danger, see's his partner killed in the line of duty.Transferred over to the 65th he now put's Lt Parker and his team in danger.Getting himself slain in a shoot-out with Lt Parker wounded,Parker takes responsibility and decides to retire.
So it could be better. But equally its shortcomings shouldn't be exaggerated.
The show itself? A genuine classic, that gains enormously from being presented complete and in order - especially the hour series, which develops from a conventional police show into an anthology series like no other before or since: sometimes melodramatic and sentimental, sometimes funny and hip, sometimes plain weird. And all against that beautiful view of New York.
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