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Audience Reviews for The Naked City
May 21, 2018Director Jules Dassin delivers a strong detective film in 'The Naked City', a film often described as noir, but which is less hardboiled than others in the genre. The murders at the beginning of the film over deadpan narration are cold-blooded enough, and I loved how the film had such a sense of realism in the methodical police investigation which follows. There are excellent shots all over New York, in the air and on the ground, for which William H. Daniels would win an Oscar for cinematography. There aren't any big stars in the cast, and that adds to the film's appeal, though unfortunately the quality of the acting varies (for example, check out Dorothy Hart's reaction to finding out her friend is dead). Anchoring it all is Barry Fitzgerald, who turns in a strong performance as the veteran Irish-American detective, mentoring a younger cop (Don Taylor), dealing with various crackpots, and putting the squeeze on a habitual liar (Howard Duff), all with wry humor. Dassin was a couple of years away from being blacklisted in Hollywood, and seven from making the iconic Rififi in France, and one can see parallels in how tight and realistic the storytelling is between the two films. Intelligent and stands the test of time ... and oh, I loved that last line - "There are eight million stories in the city; this has been one of them."
Sep 10, 2014Just a ripping good police drama with New York as the ever present backdrop. Barry Fitzgerald is the lead (!!!) (and atypically reserved ... though he does manage to throw in some few reminders of his proud heritage) detective as the death of a model turns out to reveal a ring of jewel thieves. And what lifts this above the usual sort is the interspersed additions about life in New York circa 1950, the people and rhythm of the streets. An announcer detracts from the proceedings but not enough to deflate the tale, including a great foot chase at the end.
Jul 18, 2012"The Naked City" isn't a great film, but it's interesting to watch it for what it could have been rather than for what it is. Too much time is spent giving us a tour of New York City, which in turn causes us to lose interest. This is one of the biggest strengths of "The Naked City," as it won an Oscar for its photography, but it's also one of its biggest downfalls. The story here is so interesting that it's a shame we don't see much of it. Also, the voice-over is overused and annoying and Barry Fitzgerald seems to think he's doing a better job than he actually is. It's nice to watch as the plot unravels and more characters enter, and the final few minutes are rather spectacular in their own right, but "The Naked City" just could have been more focused.
Mar 05, 2012Another in a long line of detective films, I can't justifiably call this a noir by any means. Sure, it's certainly gritty and calls upon the same course set of circumstances to show the story, but has none of the dire aspects of noir. Instead of a larger than life language, the detectives all exhibit their own ways, and realism is embedded in every part of this film. This was shot in New York City, and never on sets or lots. It was shot in apartments, on streets and subway tracks, a fact that the narrator of the film proclaims at the start of the film. Besides the fact that this film follows the investigation of a murdered girl, it also takes a quick look into the lives of residents of the city. It's not exactly a love letter to New York, or a condemnation of the many lurid lives that go on during the rush of traffic and the investigations of the police, but it is a wide scope. Throughout a strange kind of narration dubs voices, and fills in the blanks where need be. The story is that of a model who is chloroformed and drowned in her bathtub. Surprisingly the crime itself was showed, and it was amazingly graphic. The look of the film is sleek, shady, and seductively black and white. The actual detectives on the case are varied and at times awkward, but in a good way. The lead detective (Barry Fitzgerald) shows both his professional side as well as his ability to give lessons to beat cop Det. Halloran (Don Taylor). Of all the roles of this film, nothing is dopey except for Halloran, who has playful fights with his wife, lives in Jackson Heights, and is always smiling that same big eared smile throughout the entire film. The plot isn't overly dramatic or contrived in any way, but it's the way it's told, the characters behind the murder that really hold this high in people's mind. My favorite character is the crook Niles (Howard Duff) who lies to everyone, even his fiancee and the cops. He is charismatic, deceitful, and not too bright, but you only feel horror at the depths at which he sinks. It's truly a classic, mostly looking like a documentary about New York at the time, and it would be a shame if you missed it.Spencer S Super Reviewer