Tho a fine crime story in essence, and with undoubted superlative location work from Academy Award winning photographer William H. Daniels, The Naked City just doesn't add up to a great movie whole. The story follows a police procedural pattern as Barry Fitzgerald's Lt. Dan Muldoon and his wet behind the ears side-kick Jimmy Halloran (Don Taylor) try to crack the case of a murdered blonde playgirl. With no clues, the pair run down a number of blind alleys chasing weak leads. Can they crack the case? Will young Halloran be able to learn the wily ways of the experienced New York Cop before it's too late?
Perhaps it's the reputation that did it down for this first time viewer? Or maybe the ream of imitations that followed it have put the film so high on a pedestal it's now impossible to achieve expectation levels? Maybe yes to both, but I found it to be very ordinary and bogged down by a too talky core that's executed poorly by a host of mundane acting performances. Fitzgerald hams it for all he is worth, with is comedy moments severely misplaced, while Taylor is out acted by a door. The rest I can't bare to talk about. The one saving grace is Ted de Corsia's villain, a nasty piece of work that gets a nice line in desperation/mania from Corsia.
No doubt about it, Daniels' work, de Corsia and a thrilling last ten minutes, stopped this from hitting the below average mark from this disillusioned observer. 5/10
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