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Naked City Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

Young model Jean Dexter is knocked unconscious and drowned in her own bathtub in her Manhattan apartment, and a lot of jewelry that she supposedly owned is missing. The Naked City is actually about six days in the life of New York City that coincide with the murder and the subsequent investigation by Lt. Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) and Detective James Halloran (Don Taylor). The account of their work, and the workings of the New York City police department, is interspersed with brief vignettes about the life of the city around them, and, especially, the reaction of residents to the murder and the newspaper reports of the progress of the case. Muldoon and Halloran first must determine why she was killed, which may (or may not) have to do with how a woman with a minimal income came by the jewelry -- was it a love affair gone bad (and if so, with whom?), or something more complex and sinister? Retracing the final 18 months of the victim's life, their investigation reaches out to a mysterious "Philip Henderson" with whom she was supposedly linked romantically, and to Frank Niles (Howard Duff), who's a little too fast-and-loose with the truth when he doesn't have to be to make Muldoon comfortable; to make things more complicated, Muldoon determines that there were at least two men involved with the actual commission of the murder. The victim turns out to have led a wild life, filled with men and parties, and was tied up with several sordid figures. Their investigation carries them into the highest and lowest ends of New York's social strata to find the killer, and it turns out there are a lot of interlocking reasons why at least three men might've wanted her dead. In the process, we get glimpses of the private lives of the detectives, which was something new in movies at this time; in the midst of all of this activity, the writers set up a fascinating contrast, in adjacent scenes, between Halloran, his wife, and their young son looking toward the future, with the parents of the dead woman, looking back with bitter regret and recriminations -- no movie ever presented in more subtle fashion the contrast between the zeitgeist of the 1930s and that of the postwar era. The final chase on the Williamsburg Bridge is one of the classic pieces of suspense cinema, as the armed and desperate killer races up the walkway past children playing and adults strolling, while detectives close in on foot from behind and patrol cars come up from ahead, with crowded subways rolling past, and then into the superstructure of the bridge for a stand-off and shootout. Sharp-eyed viewers will spot future character leads Paul Ford, James Gregory, John Marley, Kathleen Freeman, and Arthur O'Connell as well as familiar faces Tom Pedi, John Randolph, Molly Picon, and Walter Burke in the supporting cast. Cinematographer William Daniels and editor Paul Weatherwax won Oscars for their work, but awards might just as easily have been presented to director Jules Dassin, writers Albert Maltz and Malvin Wald, composers Miklos Rozsa and Frank Skinner, and, most notably, to producer/narrator Mark Hellinger, who intoned the closing monologue, which opens with one of the most famous tag lines in movie history: "There are eight million stories in the Naked City." ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Malvin Wald Best Story 1948 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Paul Weatherwax Best Editing 1948 Winner
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Jules Dassin Best Film - Any Source 1948 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences William H. Daniels Best Black and White Cinematography 1948 Winner

Cast

Barry Fitzgerald
as Detective Lt. Dan Muldoon
Howard Duff
as Frank Niles
Dorothy Hart
as Ruth Morrison
Don Taylor
as Jimmy Halloran
Ted de Corsia
as Willie Garzah
House Jameson
as Dr. Stoneman
Frank Conroy
as Capt. Donahue
Anne Sargent
as Mrs. Halloran
Adelaide Klein
as Mrs. Batory
Tom Pedi
as Detective Perelli
Enid Markey
as Mrs. Hylton
Raymond Greenleaf
as City Editor
Bern Hoffman
as Wrestler
David Kerman
Marsha McClelland
Nehemiah Persoff
John Randolph
as Policeman
Grace Coppin
as Miss Livingston
Amelia Romano
as Shop Girl
Blanche Obronska
as Mother
Mark Hellinger
as Narrator
Curt Conway
as Nick
Walter Burke
as Backalis
David Opatoshu
as Ben Miller
Paul Ford
as Henry Fowler
George Lynn
as Fredericks
Arthur O'Connell
as Shaeffer
Virginia Mullen
as Martha
James Gregory
as Hicks
Edwin Jerome
as Publisher
Elliott Sullivan
as Trainer
John Marley
as Managing Editor
Russ Conway
as Ambulance Doctor
Joe Kerr
as Ned Harvey
William Cottrell
as Bisbee
Mervin Williams
as Clerk
Judson Laire
as Publisher
Sarah Cunningham
as Nurse
Harris Brown
as Janitor
Carl Milletaire
as Young Man
Kathleen Freeman
as Stout Girl
Lee Shumway
as Patrolman
Perc Launders
as Police Photographer
Victor Zimmerman
as Patrolman
George Sherwood
as Patrolman
John Marley
as Managing Editor
Lee Shumway
as Patrolman
George Sherwood
as Patrolman
James Gregory
as Hicks
Virginia Mullen
as Martha
Walter Burke
as Backalis
Amelia Romano
as Shop Girl
Blanche Obronska
as Mother
Victor Zimmerman
as Patrolman
Russ Conway
as Ambulance Doctor
Edwin Jerome
as Publisher
Bern Hoffman
as Wrestler
William Cottrell
as Bisbee
David Opatoshu
as Ben Miller
Perc Launders
as Police Photographer
John Randolph
as Policeman
Kathleen Freeman
as Stout Girl
Joe Kerr
as Ned Harvey
Carl Milletaire
as Young Man
Mervin Williams
as Clerk
Judson Laire
as Publisher
Sarah Cunningham
as Nurse
Arthur O'Connell
as Shaeffer
Curt Conway
as Nick
Elliott Sullivan
as Trainer
Mark Hellinger
as Narrator
Paul Ford
as Henry Fowler
Grace Coppin
as Miss Livingston
Harris Brown
as Janitor
George Lynn
as Fredericks
Raymond Greenleaf
as City Editor

Crew

Jules Dassin
Director
Mark Hellinger
Producer
Malvin Wald
Screenwriter
William H. Daniels
Cinematographer
Miklos Rozsa
Composer (Music Score)
Frank Skinner
Composer (Music Score)
Paul Weatherwax
Editor
Oliver Emert
Set Designer
Grace Houston
Costume Designer
Fred Frank
First Assistant Director
Bud Westmore
Makeup
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