The Naked City (1948) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Naked City (1948)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Naked City Photos

Movie Info

Attractive blonde model Jean Dexter is murdered in her apartment and homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran take on the case. Their investigation ties the model's death to a string of apartment burglaries.

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Barry Fitzgerald
as Det. Lt. Dan Muldoon
Don Taylor
as Jimmy Halloran
Howard Duff
as Frank Niles
Dorothy Hart
as Ruth Morrison
House Jameson
as Dr. Stoneman
Anne Sargent
as Mrs. Halloran
Adelaide Klein
as Mrs. Batory
Grover Burgess
as Mr. Batory
Tom Pedi
as Det. Perelli
Enid Markey
as Mrs. Hylton
Frank Conroy
as Capt. Donahue
Walter Burke
as Backalis
David Opatoshu
as Ben Miller
John McQuade
as Constantino
Paul Ford
as Henry Fowler
Ralph Bunker
as Dr. Hoffman
George Lynn
as Fredericks
Jean Adair
as Little Old Lady
Nicholas Joy
as McCormick
Beverly Bayne
as Mrs. Stoneman
Al Kelley
as Newsboy
Celia Adler
as Proprietor
Grace Coppin
as Miss Livingston
Edwin Jerome
as Publisher
Amelia Romano
as Shop Girl
Anthony Rivers
as Ed Garzah
Bern Hoffman
as Wrestler
Charles P. Thompson
as Ticket Taker
John Marley
as Managing Editor
Russ Conway
as Ambulance Doctor
Joe Kerr
as Ned Harvey
John Randolph
as Policeman
Stevie Harris
as Halloran's Son
Raymond Greenleaf
as City Editor
Johnny Dale
as Mr. Stillman
Judson Laire
as Publisher
Joyce Allen
as Shop Girl
Ralph Simone
as Old Gentleman
Harris Brown
as Janitor
Carl Milletaire
as Young Man
Kathleen Freeman
as Stout Girl
Lee Shumway
as Patrolman
Perc Launders
as Police Photographer
David Kerman
as Patrolman
George Sherwood
as Patrolman
Joseph Karney
as Wrestler
Retta Coleman
as Crippled Girl
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Critic Reviews for The Naked City

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (5)

This horrendously acted, written, and directed crime caper tries to discover who chloroformed a beautiful blonde model and then drowned her in her own bathtub.

June 15, 2021 | Full Review…

Throughout, despite its omniscient, stark melodrama, there has been no sight lost of an element of humor.

July 3, 2008 | Full Review…

A definite parochial fascination is liberally assured all the way and the seams in a none-too-good whodunnit are rather cleverly concealed.

March 25, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A rather overrated police-procedure thriller which has gained its seminal status simply by its accent on ordinariness and by its adherence to the ideal of shooting on location.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

A first-rate police thriller.

January 1, 2000

Episode 6: Bourbon and Smoke

August 28, 2021 | Rating: 90/100 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Naked City

Just a ripping good police drama with New York as the ever present backdrop. Barry Fitzgerald is the lead (!!!) (and atypically reserved ... though he does manage to throw in some few reminders of his proud heritage) detective as the death of a model turns out to reveal a ring of jewel thieves. And what lifts this above the usual sort is the interspersed additions about life in New York circa 1950, the people and rhythm of the streets. An announcer detracts from the proceedings but not enough to deflate the tale, including a great foot chase at the end.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Another in a long line of detective films, I can't justifiably call this a noir by any means. Sure, it's certainly gritty and calls upon the same course set of circumstances to show the story, but has none of the dire aspects of noir. Instead of a larger than life language, the detectives all exhibit their own ways, and realism is embedded in every part of this film. This was shot in New York City, and never on sets or lots. It was shot in apartments, on streets and subway tracks, a fact that the narrator of the film proclaims at the start of the film. Besides the fact that this film follows the investigation of a murdered girl, it also takes a quick look into the lives of residents of the city. It's not exactly a love letter to New York, or a condemnation of the many lurid lives that go on during the rush of traffic and the investigations of the police, but it is a wide scope. Throughout a strange kind of narration dubs voices, and fills in the blanks where need be. The story is that of a model who is chloroformed and drowned in her bathtub. Surprisingly the crime itself was showed, and it was amazingly graphic. The look of the film is sleek, shady, and seductively black and white. The actual detectives on the case are varied and at times awkward, but in a good way. The lead detective (Barry Fitzgerald) shows both his professional side as well as his ability to give lessons to beat cop Det. Halloran (Don Taylor). Of all the roles of this film, nothing is dopey except for Halloran, who has playful fights with his wife, lives in Jackson Heights, and is always smiling that same big eared smile throughout the entire film. The plot isn't overly dramatic or contrived in any way, but it's the way it's told, the characters behind the murder that really hold this high in people's mind. My favorite character is the crook Niles (Howard Duff) who lies to everyone, even his fiancee and the cops. He is charismatic, deceitful, and not too bright, but you only feel horror at the depths at which he sinks. It's truly a classic, mostly looking like a documentary about New York at the time, and it would be a shame if you missed it.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

A distant procedural that confirms our worst fears: that committing a murder is as commonplace as going to work in the Big Apple. Right from it's unconventional opening, one gets the sense that this isn't your average noir. From there director Jules Dassin treats the viewer to shots of workers trudging along in their daily grind. Some going to their factories, some at their desk, some participating in a brutal slaying. It's just clockwork. Like a job, murder is just part of some people's routine. The near banality of the crime is aided by a candid and temperate narrator who is our guide in this lurid tale. He seems to take pleasure in informing the audience that this isn't a basic studio picture. That it is shot on location, as close to reality as it gets. This even-keel approach gives the feeling like this is something he has seen 1,000 times. That in a city of 8,000, sometimes pill-popping power-hungry women get offed. That is just the way it is. Dassin also taps into the thoughts of the residents of the city. No matter how innocent, hedonistic, or sadistic, they are treated equally. Connected by this city, for better or for worse. Pre-dating Scorsese and Allen, who are famous for using the city as a character in the story, Dassin also gives the city a prominent role here. From the opening with the Empire States Building, to the parents angrily-sobbing over how their choices may have lead to an untimely death with the Brooklyn Bridge looming in the background, to the breathtaking ending on said bridge, the city seems to have a distinct impact on everyone's actions. In a way, it seems to be the main character. As one can see this isn't your average noir. Dassin, who would later have a rather tumultuous relationship with Hollywood, takes a lot of chances here and crafts one of the more unique noirs that I have seen.

Reid Volk
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

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