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
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Producer Mark Hellinger, who narrates the movie, died of a heart attack before the film was released into theaters. Following Hellinger's death, executives at Universal Studios were ready to scrap the movie. They had no idea how to market it, and feared it would be a box office failure. But Hellinger's family reminded the studio that Hellinger's contract for the film included a "guarantee of release" clause from Universal. Having no choice, Universal released the film in theaters, and were surprised when it became a hit, and received two Oscars. See more »
In the scene near the end where Garza is running along a street in New York, the car holding the camera (in the passenger window) is visible in the store windows, keeping pace with the actor as he stops and starts. See more »
Taut, tense semi-documentary style with great location shooting in New York City...
THE NAKED CITY is like watching a time capsule unfold of New York City in the late '40s--the cars, the subways, the bridges, the people bustling along busy streets totally unaware of filming (scenes were shot from cars with tinted windows and two-way mirrors), and at the center of it all is a rather routine detective story. But the difference is the style that director Jules Dassin gets out of his material, giving the drama a chance to build up the proper tension before the final shootout on city streets and bridges.
BARRY FITZGERALD is the detective with the very helpful sidekick DON TAYLOR, a young police officer from Queens who helps him track down the man responsible for the death of a pretty blonde in what the tabloids called "The Bathtub Murder". Both men are excellent as they follow a batch of clues to get to the bottom of the crime. HOWARD DUFF is also excellent as a man mixed up in the robberies, with DOROTHY HART as his unsuspecting sweetheart.
TED DeCORSIA, making his film debut, is the athletic villain, working out in his small apartment when detective Taylor finds him--but soon making his escape which leads to the film's most breathtaking moments of a dazzling chase that fills the last ten minutes with high tension suspense.
The crime itself is not that interesting, but the style used to tell the tale (with a voice-over narration telling us at the conclusion that this is just one story in a city of millions) is what makes it far superior to most detective stories. That and the fact that New York City is given the spotlight for location photography that really hits the mark.
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