This is a well crafted film noir that makes great use of its main set piece, the city of New York and the people in it, to create an intricate atmosphere in which to solve a murder case. Also the cynical narration from Mark Hellinger is also a nice touch.
Plays like the long lost pilot episode of TV's Law & Order. The story and the way it establishes characters and incidents through happenstance - creating in the process a clear chain of events - is compelling, but the wooden performances and rickety studio interiors are at odds with Dassin's pursuit of gritty actuality and docu-drama style realism. Nonetheless, the procedural and its outcome remain entirely engaging.
Despite finding Mark Hellinger's narration somewhat annoying at times and Barry Fitzgerald's portrayal of Dan Muldoon more closely resembles a caricature rather than a characterization, "The Naked City" is a great noir and was apparently filmed entirely in New York itself by Dassin. In addition to enjoying the movie itself, I was enthralled by the close up of New York in the late 40s.
I think this film has a wonderfully realist edge to it and captures the atmosphere of crime in 1940's new york well; the only thing that frustrated me was the narration which seemed unnecessarily obvious in its commentary on the story being told
Lighthearted acting, a clear moral dichotomy, one of the worst voice-overs ever put to film, and a detective that is also a leprechaun; undeserving of the Noir category; if The Naked City has any piss it is of the glycerin sort.
Despite some annoying narration and forgettable acting, The Naked City is actually a pretty great movie. It plays more like a crime drama or ancestor of Law & Order or (gasp!) CSI than the film noir masterpiece its often portrayed as. If nothing else, The Naked CIty serves as a great snapshot of a post WWII NYC. Picture On the Town without the joy...
Classic film noir police procedural is an attempt at gritty documentary realism from director Jules Dassin, though the filmmaking is still firmly in the classic Hollywood mold. A solid detective plot, some great black and white location photography of New York, and a sharply-crafted climactic chase scene - but ultimately, this one doesn't hold up quite as well as some of Dassin's other film noir classics.
There are pictures out there clearly undeserving of a Best Picture award, like 'The Greatest Show on Earth'. Well, this one mysteriously won Best Cinematography. I have rarely seen such pedestrian work. This is TV show quality. The acting is bad. The voice over is annoying. This is no film noir.