Aug 312020

The Naked City is a well done crime-drama that certainly was done in an interesting style with a documentary-like narration and filming on location in New York City.



The Naked City
— The Criterion Collection —

Genre(s): Drama, Crime, Film Noir
The Criterion Collection | NR – 96 min. – $39.95 | September 8, 2020

Date Published: 08/31/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Jules Dassin
Writer(s): Malvin Wald (story), Albert Maltz, Malvin Wald (screenplay)
Cast: Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor, Frank Conroy, Ted de Corsia

Features: Commentary, Interviews, Gallery
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (PCM 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Full Frame 1.37
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 47.92 GB
Total Bitrate: 40.57 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

The Criterion Collection provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

Plot Synopsis: After a former model is drowned in her bathtub, Detective James Halloran (DON TAYLOR) and Lieutenant Dan Muldoon (BARRY FITZGERALRD) attempt to piece together her murder. A friend of the victim mentions “Mr. Henderson,” and the police also find the actions of Frank Niles (HOWARD DUFF) peculiar. As Muldoon and Halloran start to fill in the details of the victim’s past, they find that she had a lively social life, filled with many suitors, and the mystery becomes even more complex.

Quick Hit Review: The Naked City for its time was certainly revolutionary not so much with the plot, though got some nice intrigue to it, but instead being entirely filmed in New York City when before that time, most films, even ones set in NYC, were shot in Hollywood with staged backdrops. I can appreciate the historical significance of the film and the technical attributes of the beautiful cinematography by William H. Daniels who took home the Academy Award (for black-and-white).

In terms of the story, for which screenwriter Malvin Wald was nominated, nothing terribly special, at least looking through it in the prism of modern times, but still engaging enough thanks to some fun performances, particularly from Barry Fitzgerald displaying some spunky charisma with his deeply Irish accent.

The Naked City is still an entertaining movie deserving some of the praise and still holds up fairly well over seven decades later.



This release comes in the standard Criterion clear keep case and inside is a booklet.

Audio Commentary — Screenwriter Malvin Wald talks about his work on movie, where the idea came from and offering memories and stories from the time. Recorded in 1996.


  • Dana Polan (28:11) — This is an interview from 2006 with New York University film studies professor discussing the social portrait of The Naked City.
  • James Sanders (26:06) — Architect James Sanders, author of “Clluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies” and co-writer of Ric Burns’s PBS documentary series New York, they talk The Naked City’s depiction of New York in the 1940s.
  • Jules Dassin at Lacma (40:45) is footage from 2004 event with Dassin discussing his career with Rialto Pictures’ Bruce Goldstein. Not the best quality but an interesting feature with the director.

Stills Gallery (5:42)


VIDEO – 5.0/5

The Criterion Collection releases The Naked City onto Blu-ray presented in its original 1.37 aspect ratio and has been given a new, and extensive, 1080p high-definition transfer. The beginning of the movie comprehensively outlines the process of bringing the movie to HD using various film elements, as the original nitrate film was lost or destroyed due to mismanagement as the movie went to different entities and studios over the years.

For this transfer, TLEFilms Film Restoration & Preservation Services utilized four separate elements, including a 35 mm nitrate fine-grain master positive, and scanned before undergoing digital restoration. As such, the movie looks absolutely fantastic, detail is amazingly sharp and the black and white is well balanced throughout.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The movie comes with a PCM Mono track which was mostly strong providing clear dialogue or narration although there was one scene, due to some poor sound design on set, that sounded a bit echoey in an otherwise fine track, especially for a film that’s going on 70 years old.


OVERALL – 4.25/5

The Naked City is a well done crime-drama that certainly was done in an interesting style with a documentary-like narration and filming on location in New York City. The story itself isn’t anything profound but I still found it enjoyable especially whenever Barry Fitzgerald was on screen. The Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection offers up excellent video and impressive audio to go along with a good selection of bonus features.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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