The Naked City

Let’s just start off this review by saying that this is a good movie. It’s 96 minutes of cop movie with a big film noir feel.

Irishman Barry Fitzgerald is the real star of the movie as Detective Lieutenant Dan Muldoon. There are enough other good guys, bad guys, and some in-between to go around.

The movie begins with (and is full of) impressive aerial shots and cinematography of New York City. Throughout the movie you will be treated to very impressive camera-work. In fact, this movie won the 1949 Oscars for Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) and Best Film Editing.

The Naked City - Lower Manhattan in 1948

The Naked City - Lower Manhattan in 1948


We start with a narrator (Mark Hellinger) preparing us for what we are about to experience. We are told that the film was shot, not in a studio, but on the streets of New York. It’s a single story – the story of a murder. But, it’s really the story of the city. We are given insight into one event, one set of circumstances, which make up this great city.

“It’s One O’Clock in the morning on a hot summer night.”

These words introduce us to a scene in which a murder occurs – the murder of a young woman from New Jersey, the daughter of immigrants, that has moved into the city seeking a more luxurious life than what her parents were able to provide during her youth.

The Naked City - A sad goodbye

The Naked City - A sad goodbye


But now, she’s dead and this movie is the examination of the people and circumstances that led to her death.

Several things make this movie good; The story is solid. The cinematography is appealing to the eye. The acting is good and the characters are well developed.

The Naked City - A scene on the street

The Naked City - A scene on the street


When the murdered woman is discovered it sets a police investigation into motion. When they begin, the police have virtually nothing to go on. Questions must be asked. Leads must be developed and followed. What starts as clues that resemble a needle in a haystack must be explored. We get to know the law-enforcement officers that work the case and see how they peel back the layers to expose the truth.

Things have happened that have led to this young woman’s death. People are involved and there are reasons that the players in this game have acted as they have.

The Naked City - A bridge of trouble

The Naked City - A bridge of trouble


Your humble reviewer will offer no spoilers. It should suffice to say that this film is recommended. The story will unfold as the movie progresses. As we witness the unfortunate murder, we don’t know any of the players but eventually the scheme that led to this murder will be revealed.

There’s a little bit of a “Dragnet” feel and this feature might have some elements that will remind people of modern crime dramas on television and in the movies. It is a sold film and if you like this sort of fare, you should find this to be among the best of this genre.

The Naked City - A towering problem

The Naked City - A towering problem


The final lines of the film; “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”

The Naked City @ imdb.com

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