Ty Burr
November 20, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Naked City

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Don Taylor, Howard Duff, Barry Fitzgerald
director
Jules Dassin
distributor
Kino Home Video
author
Malvin Wald
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B+

Like the man says, there are 8 million stories in the naked city — and this was the first. Jules Dassin’s tight, nervy police procedural not only led to the Ike Age TV show of the same title but influenced every cop drama from Dragnet to Kojak. The movie’s gimmick, brilliant for 1948, was to shoot on actual New York City sites and use actual lumpy New York faces to achieve a city-symphony feel. Not that this plays as a documentary: For one thing, star Barry Fitzgerald pours on the ”Oirish” blarney a little too thick as a homicide cop leading his men in a murder investigation. But there are plenty of scenes in The Naked City — like the electrifying opening crime and the climax atop the Williamsburg Bridge — that rubbed city grit in viewers’ eyes back then and that still hold the power to startle a video renter’s complacency. Ivy Classics release: B+

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