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.
La intención documental activamente cruda y proto verité tiene la suficiente fuerza como para elevar a este hard boiled estandar a la categoría de clásico. Las calles de NY respiran mejor que la insulsa línea argumentativa, a excepción de unos momentos donde la mano de J. Dassin realmente logra destacarse, como en la persecución final que tuvo su actualización necesaria en The French Connection. Weegee lo hizo mejor.
The gap between the documentary style of the film and the wooden acting of some of the actors is so large that it impacts the quality of this movie that didn't age as well as, for instance, Night and the City of the same director. Recommended, though.