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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is less a review than it is a correction of reprtr's review.
Halloran's neighborhood is not in Queens. He lives on the north side of
Stuyvesant Street, where it intersects with E.10th Street, in the East
Village. The opening corner shootout shows the shooter crossing from
10th to Stuyvesant just west of 2nd Avenue, and then turning the corner
to 2nd as he continues his rampage. One of the shots in the second
scene is a bit confusing as to location, as you can see Ratner's across
the street and Ratner's was, I believe, located further downtown, but
the famous Second Avenue Deli was in that location for years and it's
possible it once was known as Ratner's. St. Mark's church figures
prominently in these scenes as well.
This opening sequence gives pause to those who like to think of the 1950s as a less violent time than our own.
Although none of the businesses shown on this episode are still there, the buildings mercifully haven't changed very much at all. I loved looking at my recent neighborhood as it appeared in 1959!
(POSSIBLE SPOILER) It is, as are most, an excellent episode of the series in its half-hour format. The final confrontation between Halloran and Eisart on a near-deserted wintry Coney Island backdrop is haunting both dramatically and visually.
***SPOILERS*** Out of nowhere and for no reason what's so ever church
going and meek Andy Eisera, Woodrow Parfrey, just went completely nuts
gunning down some half dozen people for what seemed his wanting to rid
the world or New York City of the evil that's enveloping it. Out
looking for the crazed killer Det. James Halloran, James Franciscus,
suspects that Andy is hiding out in the wilds of Coney Island since
he's been known to go there at times to meditate. Sure enough Det.
Halloran does track down Andy in deserted, it's not the tourist season
at the time, Ol' Coney and ends up getting winged, shot in the arm, by
It's when Andy feels that the all's clear and attempts to finally snuff out Det. Halloran's life that he's in for a big surprise. A wounded Set. Halloran beats him to the punch or draw and fatally wounds him. As he's about to go to meet his maker Andy spills the beans to why he acted so crazy of late ending up killing at least a half dozen Innocent people. Obviously the ranting of a madman he ends up taking the true reasons for his deadly rampage to his grave. Since his strange reasons for his actions make no sense at all. To those, Det. Halloran, he feebly explains it to or even, I suspect, himself.
Unusual back in the 1950's when this "Naked City" episode was filmed but very common, in 2013, now mass killing have now become as common as the changing of the seasons. At the time it was unthinkable for a person like Andy who had no criminal record and attended Sunday church services every week to flip out and do such a thing but now it can explained by head shrinker's and serial murder profilers as him not having a happy childhood or not being able to make out with the apposite sex. There's also the fact that the movies and TV shows have become so violent and that music actuality encourages these sort of things, and explained away by those pushing it, that in a way Andy's actions are not as shocking or unpredictable now as they were back then in 1959.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode of NAKED CITY haunted me for almost 50 years, in between
the time I first saw it in reruns (around 1965) and my next viewing of
it, on ME-TV in 2013. It scared the hell out of me at age 9, and in
preparing to see it anew, I wondered if it would hold up.
It's a quiet morning in the neighborhood where detective Jimmy Halloran (James Franciscus) lives -- his wife and daughter say hello to a neighbor, Andrew Eisert (Woodrow Parfrey) who wanders past them, oblivious to both. Eisert suddenly pulls out a pistol, walks into a small neighborhood shop, and faces an older woman behind the counter, who greets him. And he shoots her dead. He leaves the store, walks to another store-front where he confronts a shopkeeper on his way into the store, and shoots him. He walks into another store, gun drawn, and confronts a man behind the counter -- who knows him -- and shoots him. A milkman making a delivery sees what is happening and runs to his truck as he realizes that the man with the gun is focused on him, but Eisert runs down the sidewalk and shoots the milkman dead in the cab of his truck as he tries to turn a corner away from him. Next, he tries to shoot his way into a shop where people are huddled in fear, when the sound of approaching police sirens causes him to break off the attack and flee.
The episode holds up. The brutal violence of that opening sequence seems even more striking today, and what follows is even better. Woodrow Parfrey's performance is amazing, effectively conveying madness without a word of dialogue until 23 or 24 minutes into the half-hour episode. His Andrew Eisert and Franciscus's Jimmy Halloran are on a collision course from the moment that Halloran goes searching for him in a nearly-deserted Coney Island; and in this episode producer Herbert Leonard's mid-episode narration was almost completely unnecessary, and distracting. This was one of the first season episodes that might have been seriously considered for another go-around in the hour-long series that followed -- there was enough depth to the dialogue between Halloran and the priest, and enough unexplored about the Parfrey character's history and possible motivations, just touched upon fragmentarily in his little sliver of dialogue.
Watching it in 2013, there are too many resonances to recent real-life mass-shootings (something almost unknown in the 1950s). But the program also has some points that stretch credibility -- as per NYPD policy in place long before the 1960s, no squad commander would ever assign a detective to find an armed and dangerous suspect (in a case of multiple homicide, no less) by themselves. This episode mostly belongs to Franciscus and Parfrey (John McIntire has relatively little to do as Lt. Muldoon), and the lonely landscape of Coney Island in winter time.
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