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A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Amid a semi-documentary portrait of New York and its people, Jean Dexter, an attractive blonde model, is murdered in her apartment. Homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran investigate. Suspicion falls on various shifty characters who all prove to have some connection with a string of apartment burglaries. Then a burglar is found dead who once had an elusive partner named Willie. The climax is a very rapid manhunt sequence. Filmed entirely on location in New York City. Written by
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Producer Mark Hellinger, who narrates the movie, died of a heart attack before the film was released. Following his death, Universal Pictures executives were ready to scrap the movie. They had no idea how to market it, and feared it would be a box-office failure. However, Hellinger's family reminded the studio that his contract for the film included a "guarantee of release" clause from Universal. Having no choice, Universal released the film in theaters, and was surprised when it became a hit and received two Oscars. See more »
During the end pursuit, Garzah walks past a plump, dark-haired lady in a floral dress, pushing a baby in a stroller. As Donahue pursues in a following scene, he passes the same woman, now walking without her baby carriage and her left hand bandaged. See more »
I don't know anything about medicine, doctor, but that's one prescription that never cured anything.
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The opening credits are spoken by producer/narrator Mark Hellinger. No credits are seen on the screen. See more »
In an era when everything was recreated on a Hollywood set, or filmed on their back lots, "Naked City" was different and daring - it was shot on the streets of New York City, and the grittiness and realism was palpable. Detectives have to investigate the murder of a young woman, and scene by scene we are absorbed. The way Barry Fitzgerald as the lieutenant breaks done and rips open Howard Duff is especially memorable, as is the scene of the two parents of the dead girl breaking down. This film is marvelously constructed scene by scene. The performances are standouts, and look for a host of New York actors appearing in uncredited roles: James Gregory, Molly Picon (a giant of Yiddish theatre), David Opatashu (also of the Yiddish theater), Paul Ford, Arthur O'Connell, and others. Ted DeCorsia is great as the villain; catch his other roles.
"Detective Story" (see review) came out three years later and in its squad room dialogue has more in common with "NYPD Blue" than "Naked City" the movie, but for the realism of the streets and even cinema verite feel, nothing tops "Naked City". And soon a highly successful TV series was named after it. Highly recommended. You'll feel like you're back in New York City in the 1940's!
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