The Naked City (1948)

95-96 mins | Drama | March 1948

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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Homicide . The film contains no opening credits; instead, the picture opens with producer Mark Hellinger's oral narration, in which he states the film's title, identifies the screenwriters, director of photography, director and stars, then explains that, unlike most Hollywood films, The Naked City was shot in New York City, using actual locations and citizens. The film ends with Hellinger uttering the famous lines "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them." Within the written end credits, Hellinger expresses "his deep gratitude to the mayor and police commissioner of New York City. Without their cooperation, this film could not have been made." The Naked City was Hellinger's final film; he died from a heart attack on 21 Dec 1947.
       According to HR , The Naked City was also the title of a documentary short produced by Weegee, a noted photojournalist. Hellinger arranged to purchase the title for his feature film, and Weegee's short was released as Weegee's New York . Weegee, in turn, worked as the official still photographer on The Naked City . Universal press materials state that over a quarter million feet of film was shot in the making of The Naked City , and that concealed cameras were used in order to capture authentic action in the congested areas of New York. Universal press materials also point out that, of the twenty-four featured roles in The Naked City , only four were played by "Hollywood actors," with the other parts filled by New York radio ... More Less

The working title of the film was Homicide . The film contains no opening credits; instead, the picture opens with producer Mark Hellinger's oral narration, in which he states the film's title, identifies the screenwriters, director of photography, director and stars, then explains that, unlike most Hollywood films, The Naked City was shot in New York City, using actual locations and citizens. The film ends with Hellinger uttering the famous lines "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them." Within the written end credits, Hellinger expresses "his deep gratitude to the mayor and police commissioner of New York City. Without their cooperation, this film could not have been made." The Naked City was Hellinger's final film; he died from a heart attack on 21 Dec 1947.
       According to HR , The Naked City was also the title of a documentary short produced by Weegee, a noted photojournalist. Hellinger arranged to purchase the title for his feature film, and Weegee's short was released as Weegee's New York . Weegee, in turn, worked as the official still photographer on The Naked City . Universal press materials state that over a quarter million feet of film was shot in the making of The Naked City , and that concealed cameras were used in order to capture authentic action in the congested areas of New York. Universal press materials also point out that, of the twenty-four featured roles in The Naked City , only four were played by "Hollywood actors," with the other parts filled by New York radio and stage actors, including James Gregory and Walter Burke, who made their screen debuts in the film.
       Hellinger, director Jules Dassin and cinematographer William Daniels had previously worked together on the 1947 Universal release Brute Force (See Entry). Daniels and editor Paul Weatherwax won Academy Awards for their work on The Naked City . Writer Malvin Wald was nominated for an Academy Award for his original story, but lost to Richard Schweizer and David Wechsler for The Search (See Entry). The film made both FD 's and the London Sunday Graphic 's "ten best" list for 1948. Modern film scholars consider The Naked City a ground-breaking film, as it marked the introduction of Italian neorealism aesthetics into American mainstream cinema. The Naked City was the basis for television series of the same name, which was aired on the ABC network from 1958 to 1963 and utilized the same signature closing line as the film. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
May 48
pp. 152-53, 178.
Box Office
31 Jan 1948.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jan 48
p. 3, 8
Film Daily
22 Jan 48
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
30 May 1947.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 Sep 47
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jan 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 48
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 48
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Mar 48
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 48
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Dec 48
p. 4.
Los Angeles Daily News
15 Mar 1948.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Jan 48
p. 4010.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
31 Jan 48
p. 4038.
New York Times
5 Mar 48
p. 17.
Variety
21 Jan 48
p. 8.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Mark Hellinger Producton
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr wrt by
Scr wrt by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Dress shop
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Stills
Prod mgr
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Homicide
Release Date:
March 1948
Premiere Information:
World premiere in New York: 3 March 1948
Production Date:
mid June--mid September 1947
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
24 March 1948
Copyright Number:
LP1575
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
95-96
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12860
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the late hours of a hot New York summer night, jewel thieves Willie Garzah and Peter Backalis kill Jean Dexter, an ex-model, then place her body in her bathtub. When Backalis gets drunk after the murder, Garzah kills him, then dumps his body in the East River. Later, Homicide detective Dan Muldoon and his young associate, Jimmy Halloran, are assigned to Jean's case, which the medical examination has determined was murder, not an accident. While Dan interrogates Martha Swenson, Jean's housekeeper, about Jean's boyfriends, Jimmy questions Dr. Lawrence Stoneman, Jean's physician, and Ruth Morrison, another model. Back at the police station, Dan questions Frank Niles, Jean's ex-boyfriend, who lies about everything, including his current engagement to Ruth. Later, Dan determines from the bruises on Jean's neck that she was killed by two men. That evening, Mr. and Mrs. Batory, Jean's estranged parents, arrive in New York to formally identify the body, and tell the detectives that they have no knowledge of Jean's acquaintances. The next morning, the detectives learn that Frank sold a gold cigarette case stolen from Stoneman, then purchased a one-way airline ticket to Mexico. They also discover that Jean's ring was stolen from the wealthy Mrs. Hylton, Ruth's mother. Learning that Ruth's engagement ring is also stolen property, Dan and Jimmy rush to Frank's apartment, where they save him from being murdered by Garzah. The killer escapes onto the nearby subway train, however, and when questioned about the stolen jewelry, Frank claims that they were all presents from Jean. Frank is then arrested for robbery, but the murder case remains open. When Backalis' body is ... +


In the late hours of a hot New York summer night, jewel thieves Willie Garzah and Peter Backalis kill Jean Dexter, an ex-model, then place her body in her bathtub. When Backalis gets drunk after the murder, Garzah kills him, then dumps his body in the East River. Later, Homicide detective Dan Muldoon and his young associate, Jimmy Halloran, are assigned to Jean's case, which the medical examination has determined was murder, not an accident. While Dan interrogates Martha Swenson, Jean's housekeeper, about Jean's boyfriends, Jimmy questions Dr. Lawrence Stoneman, Jean's physician, and Ruth Morrison, another model. Back at the police station, Dan questions Frank Niles, Jean's ex-boyfriend, who lies about everything, including his current engagement to Ruth. Later, Dan determines from the bruises on Jean's neck that she was killed by two men. That evening, Mr. and Mrs. Batory, Jean's estranged parents, arrive in New York to formally identify the body, and tell the detectives that they have no knowledge of Jean's acquaintances. The next morning, the detectives learn that Frank sold a gold cigarette case stolen from Stoneman, then purchased a one-way airline ticket to Mexico. They also discover that Jean's ring was stolen from the wealthy Mrs. Hylton, Ruth's mother. Learning that Ruth's engagement ring is also stolen property, Dan and Jimmy rush to Frank's apartment, where they save him from being murdered by Garzah. The killer escapes onto the nearby subway train, however, and when questioned about the stolen jewelry, Frank claims that they were all presents from Jean. Frank is then arrested for robbery, but the murder case remains open. When Backalis' body is found, Jimmy attempts to connect the ex-convict to Jean's murder. Through further investigation, Jimmy discovers that Backalis' accomplice on a jewelry story robbery was Garzah. While Jimmy canvases the Bronx with an old wrestling photograph of Garzah, Dan forces Frank to admit that Stoneman was Jean's mystery boyfriend and goes by the name Henderson. Back at Stoneman's office, the married physician confesses that he fell in love with Jean, only to learn that she and Frank were using him in order to rob his society friends. Frank then admits that Garzah killed Jean and Backalis. Meanwhile, Jimmy attempts to arrest Garzah by himself, but is knocked unconscious by the homicidal wrestler. A panicked Garzah then draws attention to himself when he shoots and kills a blind man's guide dog. Trapped atop a bridge, Garzah refuses to surrender to the police and is shot, then falls to his death. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.