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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>
That's just what the producer, Mark Hellinger does. He tries to make it clear from the introduction that this is not your average movie. It is not. This entire production tries to accomplish one thing - authenticity. And for the most part, it succeeds.
Before I get to what's right about this movie, let me mention a few of the things that are wrong. Ted DeCorsia overacts. He always overacts. Howard Duff's character, Frankie Niles, is supposed to be a streetwise grifter. How the hell could he be dumb enough to get himself in as many pickles as he did. Anybody who has ever been around the block would know better than to lie to the cops about everything. Just lie about the important things and tell the truth when it won't hurt you. If this guy is a sociopath, he's the dumbest one in town. Although most of the accents are on the money, the incidental dialogue injected into some of the scenes sounds forced and phony. In fact, it sounds like Hollywood trying to sound like New York. Mark Hellinger's narration, by comparison, is not only authentic, it's practically Damon Runyonesque.
Now - what's right. Practically everything else. The location photography is the New York I remember as a kid. While I was watching some of the hot summer scenes downtown, I could practically smell the asphalt, melting tar, and garbage. Don Taylor's brick duplex in Queens was just the kind of house that every struggling family on the wrong side of Brooklyn aspired to.
I won't comment on the story except to say, it's an entirely believable crime story. I seem to remember Barry Fitzgerald playing a similar role in Union Station. Reminds one of the old days when most of the cops were Irish
and New York was really New York.
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