The Naked City is a solid detective film that's most notable for its outstanding cinematography, shot on location on the streets of NYC. The story is pretty standard stuff and to be honest most of the characters are fairly generic but the film is still very watchable and it ends very strongly. This is like a precursor of all those cop shows on TV, except none looked as good as this.
35mm, rewatched. In 1948, with a prodigious energy and documentary capacity, some of the later Nouvelle Vague's premises, in France, were not only conjugated in this film but, above all, magnified in a superlative way. An incomparable film.
This is a well crafted film noir that makes great use of its main set piece, the city of New York and the people in it, to create an intricate atmosphere in which to solve a murder case. Also the cynical narration from Mark Hellinger is also a nice touch.
Plays like the long lost pilot episode of TV's Law & Order. The story and the way it establishes characters and incidents through happenstance - creating in the process a clear chain of events - is compelling, but the wooden performances and rickety studio interiors are at odds with Dassin's pursuit of gritty actuality and docu-drama style realism. Nonetheless, the procedural and its outcome remain entirely engaging.
Despite finding Mark Hellinger's narration somewhat annoying at times and Barry Fitzgerald's portrayal of Dan Muldoon more closely resembles a caricature rather than a characterization, "The Naked City" is a great noir and was apparently filmed entirely in New York itself by Dassin. In addition to enjoying the movie itself, I was enthralled by the close up of New York in the late 40s.
I think this film has a wonderfully realist edge to it and captures the atmosphere of crime in 1940's new york well; the only thing that frustrated me was the narration which seemed unnecessarily obvious in its commentary on the story being told
Lighthearted acting, a clear moral dichotomy, one of the worst voice-overs ever put to film, and a detective that is also a leprechaun; undeserving of the Noir category; if The Naked City has any piss it is of the glycerin sort.
Despite some annoying narration and forgettable acting, The Naked City is actually a pretty great movie. It plays more like a crime drama or ancestor of Law & Order or (gasp!) CSI than the film noir masterpiece its often portrayed as. If nothing else, The Naked CIty serves as a great snapshot of a post WWII NYC. Picture On the Town without the joy...