BLU-RAY REVIEW: THE NAKED CITY / CERT: PG / DIRECTOR: JULES DASSIN / SCREENPLAY: ALBERT MALTZ, MALVIN WALD / STARRING: BARRY FITZGERALD, HOWARD DUFF, DOROTHY HART, DON TAYLOR / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Jules Dassin’s classic 1948 movie The Naked City has been given a new lease of life with a Blu-ray release, featuring a swanky new cover and more extras than you’ll want to watch.
As Mark Hellinger’s irritating voiceover so proudly states, this is different from most other motion pictures you’ve seen, up until 1948 anyway. He goes on to stress the realism, how it was all shot on location, and parts do have the feel of an educational video, the kind parodied on The Simpsons and Fallout 3. Blending a documentary style with the long shadows and loaded tropes of film noir, The Naked City is an evocative portrayal of New York in its near-timeless beauty. The 4:3 aspect ratio does detract from the spectacle, given the overhaul in the sound and image department.
Snaking throughout the proto-documentary shots of the city is the whodunit. Based on a story by Malvin Wald, the story follows the murder investigation of model Jean Dexter. Detectives Dan Muldoon (Fitzgerald) and Jimmy Halloran (Taylor) investigate, moving towards a spectacular conclusion.
William H. Daniels’ cinematography is effortless and artful; despite the lack of sets, he finds the theatre of the streets. The black and white romanticism of New York had an obvious inspiration on Woody Allen’s 1979 masterpiece Manhattan.
The Naked City captures the symbiosis between the city and its inhabitants. Yes, it’s melodramatic and farcical from modern perspectives, but it’s still as vital and heady and well worth your time.
Special Features: Commentary with Malvin Wald / Two featurettes / Stills gallery / Trailers
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