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The Naked City
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The Naked City

1948
Drama
Crime
1h 36m
Amid a semi-documentary portrait of New York and its people, Jean Dexter, attractive blonde model, is murdered in her apartment and homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran investigate. Suspicion falls on various shifty characters who all prove to have some connection with a string of apartment burglaries. Then a burglar is found dead who once had an elusive partner named Willie... The climax is a very rapid manhunt sequence. All filmed on location. (imdb)
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The Naked City

1948
Drama
Crime
1h 36m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 61.7% from 536 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(535)
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Rated 02 Mar 2007
2
15th
Not a bad movie, but not exactly thrilling either. As strengths, it's got some really great on-location photography - stark, clean black-and-white imagery that is pleasant to look at and highlights the city of New York, and a fairly engaging murder plot. But the weak narration (great bookends, really unnecessary otherwise), explicit focus on police procedural instead of those involved in the crime, and strict adherence to a straightforward narrative drag it down. Worth seeing, but not much else.
Rated 17 Dec 2008
43
30th
Big disappointment from Dassin. "All filmed on location" - big whoop... just goes to show what happens when you rely on a gimmick instead of good material. The novelty wears off after a couple of years and the film's true worth is exposed.
Rated 18 Feb 2010
4
74th
It's no surprise that Jules Dassin, already tuned into the pulse of world cinema in 1948, would go on to international success, because this neorealist noir is very unlike other American films of the time. A spectacular mix of adept composition and live-from-the-scene energy, it dwells on the hard details of investigative methodology, but frequently and pleasantly includes small character digressions, narrated in a wry docudramatic tone which I find less annoying and more humorous.
Rated 14 Feb 2014
86
87th
Interesting that after a scrolling through the reviews that the narration in this movie seemed a sticking point for why people didn't rate this higher. I found the narration to be top notch, highly entertaining and a great way to drive both the story and compliment the city imagery (which is beautifully shot). Sure it leaves little to the imagination, but I didn't expect a huge mystery, I enjoyed being led along. It was engrossing and the last narrated lines topped that off brilliantly.
Rated 26 Jul 2012
73
54th
Suffers from the onslaught of narration throughout, only occasionally giving us a gem of a line and mostly sounding like something out of an Ed Wood film. Interesting idea, bad execution. What does work is the documentary-inspired tackling of a police procedural, showing us not-so glamorous details and mundane moments mixed with plot-driving revelations. New York is also photographed quite beautifully. A bit of a mixed bag, really.
Rated 09 Jan 2012
70
49th
This dives headfirst into innovative narrative technique and manages to have some success, and it's really interesting to consider the rather neutral position the narrator takes with regard to the murder case. In the climax, he's actively telling the bad guy how he can cleanly get away, and sounds downright dissatisfied that he's too stupid to pull it off. The cinematography trumps all else; New York City is arresting once again. The story tends to drag after a while but it always looks nice.
Rated 03 Jan 2012
80
75th
Aside from it just being a pretty great crime/noir movie, I found the odd narration to be strangely endearing.
Rated 23 Dec 2018
70
49th
If you're a fan of any of the metric ton of police procedural shows that dominate broadcast television these days, this is probably required viewing for you. Notable for the cinematography, but the writing - particularly the voice-over bits - is a little absurd at times.
Rated 27 Sep 2009
80
86th
Some of the humor was on the silly side but in a charming way. At times the narration was a bit much, but mostly it works, and the film kept my interest as a procedural. Fitzgerald is good.
Rated 30 Jun 2008
70
41st
Seemed like two movie ideas that never quite converged: a police procedural vs. wry commentary on modern urban life.
Rated 22 May 2008
82
67th
Not a great movie as it has some clear flaws, but it's still pretty entertaining and well shot. The aerial shots are especially stunning and the detective story central to the film plays out quite well. The main problem for me was some of the acting was really silly, almost making it seem like a parody at times, and the narration, while amusing, was really out of place. It's almost like Dassin was going for two completely divergent styles and they don't really mesh together all that well.
Rated 26 Apr 2008
70
35th
A decent police procedural from decent filmmaker Jules Dassin. To be fair, he's got a good eye... the photography sports some good ideas, and I like the use of real locations. But the movie is hampered by weak acting, uninteresting characters, and especially the annoying narration.
Rated 04 May 2016
83
87th
Exciting and tense without any complicating factors. The style and feel of the film were especially interesting.
Rated 25 Jan 2014
75
45th
The police procedural stuff is pretty dated, but damn does that ending hold up. Hitchcockian. The fire escape shootout was great too.
Rated 13 Jul 2022
71
57th
The end sequence is good you can just YouTube that and not watch the movie. Seriously. Intriguing idea that plays out decently
Rated 01 Sep 2014
71
27th
Procedurals largely bore me. It's a genre that usually focuses more on pure plot detail than character or psychology, and this is really no different. The photography is pretty great, the whole film being filmed on location in New York City and Dassin's direction being quite dynamic and punchy at times. But the grandiose language in the narration doesn't match the narrative, which is pretty much a dud.
Rated 10 Aug 2015
81
53rd
Two NYPD homicide detectives (Barry Fitzgerald and Don Taylor) search for a playgirl's killer. A suitor of hers (Howard Duff) holds the key, but how? Revolutionary at the time for its semi-documentary style and location shooting, it remains fairly engrossing 65 years on, with the Oscar-winning cinematography and editing continuing to impress. The story is fairly standard and the acting isn't that great (aside from Barry Fitzgerald, who's wonderfully wily), but it's more than worth seeing once.
Rated 12 Jul 2022
75
65th
Unique for sure & with beautiful on-location shooting, let down slightly by the crime narrative only being mildly compelling & the dry overuse of dialogue-driven police procedural. This is elevated quite a bit, and arguably saved, by fun banter and the Irish wit and charm of Barry Fitzgerald. The climax is masterfully directed and the most visually appealing portion of the movie. There's also a very cool stairway shot ala Vertigo, which Hitchock wouldn't make until a decade later.
Rated 25 Feb 2016
13
69th
Star Rating: ★★★1/2
Rated 16 May 2022
85
85th
Barry Fitzgerald is the most Irish person to have ever lived. Belongs in the pantheon of Great New York films -- the city that never sleeps, babay. I liked the narration, it gave the film this jaunty feeling, which was a nice contrast to the murder mystery.
Rated 26 Feb 2016
75
89th
Great film.
Rated 15 Sep 2021
70
96th
Hollywood films was definitely getting more authentic after the war. The Naked City (1948) is a good example of that. Shot on location in New York, following a crime investigation with realistic crime solving techniques. There were several films like this in 1948, Most notable to me Call Northside 777 (1948), though The Naked City isn't far off, which becomes thrilling in it's own way. A quality one for the crime fighting buffs.
Rated 18 Jul 2016
68
62nd
This probably passed for gritty realism at the time, but it hasn't aged particularly well, It's wonderful to see the NYC exteriors, since so much of that beauty has disappeared, supplanted by pre-fab corporate shite. The plot--and especially the narration is fairly cheesy, but it gets going the last half hour. And after telling us none if it was filmed in studio, several scenes were clearly shot in a studio and given a fake backdrop later. Barry Fitzgerald is quite the character.
Rated 11 Jul 2019
60
10th
Viewed July 10, 2019.
Rated 18 Aug 2020
60
23rd
I so detest Mark Hellinger's hoaky narration that I'm yanked right out of the film every time he opens his mouth. There's a climactic chase through the streets of New York that involves an above ground graveyard improbably sandwiched between two apartment blocks, and I was really digging everything and then sure enough ... Hellinger pops in to comment and FUCK!!! It feels to me like we could have had a nice, gritty realistic crime flick going.
Rated 19 Feb 2024
85
94th
Probably the most engaging police procedural I've seen. Astonishing in it's dedication to down to earth representation of peoples and places, it's barely marked by any trace of overt generic convention, and, in this, achieves a feeling of real immediacy. This was a riveting, continually surprising, easily recommendable watch.
Rated 23 Nov 2020
65
42nd
Pretty by-the-numbers stuff. Not sure whether the fact that it's filmed on location but you can't really tell most of the time is a point in favor of studio sets or this film. Climax setpiece was bangin though.
Rated 29 Sep 2021
72
72nd
A skillfully written noir that works on our senses with its unique narration preferences. This is beneficial since it lacks emotional peaks and doesn't revolve around a particular character. Therefore, the narrative plays a vital role in keeping our interest alive when the film tends to become documentary-like. If the portrayal of the city is the core task set for, then it accomplishes. The dialogues, characterization, editing, and premise of The Naked City give this film all the fuse it needs.
Rated 20 Apr 2021
80
78th
A film noir hidden inside a police procedural. It's a bit slow (which is not helped by the sometimes inane voice-over), but the final chase through NYC is really enjoyable. Would make a really nice double-feature before The French Connection.
Rated 04 Jul 2011
64
65th
Filmed on great way, with Barry Fitzgerald charming acting but goes down little by naive philosophy of movie characteristic in that time.
Rated 30 Mar 2007
72
38th
A simple, narrated and explicitly geographic film noir doesnt find strength in its simplicity, narration or immediate location. It's chief inspiration, the hokey Disney documentaries of the 50s and 60s, that detailed the inner working of the rides animatronics, we're unfortunately offered no such insight. Truth aside, its not entirely devoid of merit or merriment. At its heart, it is still an entertaining, and reasonably solid noir from one of the less powerful filmmakers of the genre.
Rated 19 Apr 2007
85
58th
Some minor quibbles here and there, but the cinematography and the use of actual New York City locations is pretty impressive.
Rated 01 Apr 2008
80
85th
Somewhat ahead of its time. The film-noir/mockumentary mash-up probably works for some people better than for others. But the experimental technique, carefree tone and location shooting makes this taste like a Godard film. French New Wave fans would eat this up if it only had subtitles.
Rated 09 May 2008
79
70th
Pretty neat film with police work that seems pretty realistic, but in the end it really hasn't moved you or anything.
Rated 25 Jul 2008
80
74th
i loved the depth with which this movie explored solving a murder, great capturing of a homicide investigation.
Rated 04 Sep 2008
3
32nd
If only corny dialogue and a mixed bag of performances was this movies only flaw. Its narration felt like a stupid man holding my hand throughout the entire film and explaining information that was either clearly shown, or could have been through proper technique. Thankfully, the photography is as impressive as claimed. I just don't know how people can rate this or Brute Force so highly in Dassin's work.
Rated 14 Oct 2008
79
86th
If not for Mark Hellinger's unneeded narration (or at least he should have narrated just at the beginning and the end, and not every place in between), this may have been even better. Moves fast-paced, and the achievement of not having shot in a studio, but instead in the streets of NYC, sets it apart from the movies of its times. Barry Fitzgerald was great.
Rated 26 Oct 2009
65
30th
Competently made if not earth-shattering noir. The dreadful narration is a big distraction.
Rated 18 Feb 2010
50
24th
A noir reminiscent of the city symphony and essay film. The murder mystery and police procedures gets too much attention though; the city's architecture and swarm of people could've gotten more.
Rated 24 Nov 2013
68
65th
Considering it is from 1948 it is surprisingly well aged for the most part. It''s the parts that are not , that weigh it down and keep it from being a real classic. Still worth a watch as the cinematography is ahead of its time.
Rated 05 Jul 2011
70
57th
Works decently as a straightforward police procedural with an often realistic and gritty atmosphere thanks especially to the great on-location shooting. But the some times awful cardboard characters and overly-done voice over narration doesn't seem to match with the ambition to portray "the city as it is...the buildings in their naked stone, the people without make-up".
Rated 28 Jul 2011
75
45th
The poor caliber of most of the supporting cast kills the momentum, but it's a beautifully shot and tightly written piece aside.
Rated 29 Aug 2011
65
58th
Love the photography of the city, love the authentic locations, love the verite style, but man, that narration is annoying as shit.
Rated 25 Nov 2011
75
73rd
I really like how this film shows a police investigation in a mostly realistic way.Filming this in New York City was a really good idea and added to my enjoyment of this film.The big negative for this film is the awful voice narration which really needed to be axed.
Rated 11 May 2012
85
71st
Nothing amazing as far as plot goes, and the acting can be a little amateur, but it's great to see New York in all of its 1940s glory, especially Jackson Heights.
Rated 02 Aug 2012
60
64th
Slightly above average due to the humor. I miss visual jokes. I'm reminded of patton oswalt's complaint that he had to write a script in which the movie had been filmed, and a character needed something funny to yell from off screen.
Rated 07 Oct 2012
60
30th
A disappointing, convoluted mess. The narration didn't drive me batty until around the halfway point but it's certainly overblown. It's kind of unique and creative but it provides way too much exposition (as does a lot of the dialogue). At times the narration is fascinating as this disembodied all-knowing voice snidely comments on the goings-on. There is enough entertainment value to save it from being a disaster. But for a period crime movie it comes off as unfortunately soft-boiled.
Rated 20 May 2013
80
70th
The Naked City is filmed completely on location and away from any studio sets, which really helps its authentic New York feel. It's a formula murder mystery, but the NY atmosphere and the usage of a humorous omniscient narrator help to elevate the film. The shots of New York during the final chase scene at the end really help.
Rated 06 Aug 2013
65
38th
This was all right I guess. But I do question the wisdom of trying to attain realism when you're going to waste your B-plot on a family story so saccharine and Americana that James Stewart would end up with diabetes.

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