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Eric Wells
Eric Wells

The Naked City WORK

Halloran learns that a body recovered from the East River, is that of small-time burglar Peter Backalis, who died within hours of the Dexter murder, and Halloran believes the two incidents are connected. Muldoon, although skeptical, lets him pursue the lead and assigns two veteran detectives on the squad to help Halloran with the legwork. Through further methodical but tedious investigation, Halloran discovers that Backalis's accomplice on a jewelry store burglary was Willie Garzah, a former wrestler who plays the harmonica. While Halloran and his team canvass the Lower East Side of New York using an old publicity photograph of Garzah, Muldoon compels Niles to identify Jean's mystery boyfriend. He reveals that Dr. Stoneman is "Henderson". At Stoneman's office, Muldoon uses Niles to trap the married, respectable physician into confessing that he fell in love with Jean, only to learn that she and Niles were using him in order to rob his society friends. Niles then confesses that Garzah killed Jean and Backalis. Halloran and Muldoon, using different approaches, have come up with the same killer.

The Naked City

Meanwhile, Halloran finally locates Garzah and, pretending that Backalis is in the hospital, tries to trick Garzah into accompanying him, but Garzah (knowing he killed Backalis) sees through the ruse. The ex-wrestler rabbit punches the rookie detective, momentarily knocking him unconscious. Garzah attempts to disappear in the crowded city, but as police descend upon the neighborhood, he panics and draws attention to himself when he shoots and kills a blind man's guide dog on the pedestrian walk of the Williamsburg Bridge. Garzah attempts to flee over the bridge but, as police approach from both directions, he starts climbing one of the towers and is shot and wounded. High on the tower, Garzah refuses to surrender; gunfire is exchanged, and he is hit again and falls to his death.

As the skyline and street shots of New York are shown and a trashman sweeps up yesterday's newspapers, the narration concludes by saying "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

Naked City is an American police procedural television series from Screen Gems that aired on ABC from 1958 to 1959 and from 1960 to 1963. It was inspired by the 1948 motion picture The Naked City and mimics its dramatic "semi-documentary" format. As in the film, each episode concluded with a narrator intoning the iconic line: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

Pieces of this film feel like they're ready for the 70s. I wonder if William Friedkin was inspired at all by this film in making The French Connection, especially with the cop chases on the subway. They make it very clear upfront that this was shot mostly on the actual streets of New York, something which would have been very rare in the 40s. Given how expensive and immobile camera equipment was, it was hardly practical to shoot on location, but in a noir about a dirty city, this technique works extremely well. Especially as they are emphasizing how amoral its citizens are.

Fantastic early police procedural! I can definitely see why this Jules Dassin film in particular inspired Akira Kurosawa's film Stray Dog! Extraordinary shots of the bustling city, the wise, no nonsense inspector Muldoon gifted with the foresight to understand that the devil is in the details! Pair him up with a greenhorn detective, a complex murder case and you've got a film noir worthy of your attention!

The Naked City is a film noir detective story nestled within a semi-documentary city symphony film. The story, itself, involving a murder of young model, stolen jewelry and an acrobatic wrestler is enjoyable enough (highlighted by a humorous performance from Barry Fitzgerald as Det. Lt. Dan Muldoon), but the cityscape is the main attraction.

The beginning of Jules Dassin's The Naked City features some of the greatest aerial shots of NYC in stunning black-and-white. Actually, just, some of the greatest aerial shots of any city on film, rivaling Henri Alekan's gorgeous black-and-white aerials from Wings of Desire.

The scene, in its final form, is a miracle of energizing pans and movements across the screen, as well as inventive camera placements that isolate Garzah against the yawning backdrop of the city. Throughout the film, Garzah was the unknown quantity. He was the man Muldoon and Halloran sought, treading cautiously throughout the city, pursing faint leads and seemingly random hunches, asking a thousand repetitive questions of citizens of the city and receiving precious few answers in return.

I once had a peat-smoked Scotch Ale there that I still rank in my top 10, and they were wonderfully early on the triple-IPA to beat the Plinys and establish WA/Seattle as a city that could make their own damn good high abv/strong IPAs.

Oh my gosh. Stories like this are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I lived at Rivington & Ridge for a few years (now i live in Williamsburg) and I am utterly amazing by the history of the neighborhood (and the city in general to be honest). These photos make me nostalgic for an LES that I was never a part of (or alive for!). Would absolutely love to pick your brain regarding your memories. What a gift for those of us who will never know that same NYC.

Naked City, the cop show of the early sixties that nearly every classic TV buff adores, is famous for three things: (1) the beautifully wrought dialogue and wonderfully strange characters created by its chief writers, Stirling Silliphant and Howard Rodman; (2) the extensive location shooting, which makes the show an ever more valuable etching of Manhattan at a specific moment in time; and (3) the roster of extraordinary character actors and future stars who received, in many cases, their first exposure on Naked City, after eagle-eyed casting executive Marion Dougherty spotted them on the Off-Broadway stages that had begun to flourish in the city.

Mark Hellinger reportedly found his title in a Weegee photo study of the streets of New York; the photographer became a special consultant. His first-person narration gives the film warmth and humor, observing chosen citizens as the camera skips across the economic and social strata of the city. A new mother wonders if her baby will let her sleep. A typesetter thinks about his job. Two young women admire a dress in a window. The killer is a lowlife from the lower East Side, but his high-toned uptown associates are just as guilty: liars and thieves compromising their values for money and sex. 041b061a72


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