Street scene with detectives and car in The Naked City

The Naked City

Jules Dassin | USA | 1948

Director: Jules Dassin
Producer: Mark Hellinger
Screenplay: Albert Maltz, Malvin Wald
Cinematography: William Daniels
Editor: Paul Weatherwax
Music: Miklos Rozsa, Frank Skinner
Barry Fitzgerald (Lt Dan Muldoon)
Howard Duff (Frank Niles)
Dorothy Hart (Ruth Morrison)
Don Taylor (Jimmy Halloran)
Frank Conroy (Captain Donahue)
Mark Hellinger (Narrator)

Rating: PG Low level violence Runtime: 96 minutes

“There are eight million stories in the naked city. This was one of them.”

We conclude Noir-vember for 2023 with Jules Dassin’s The Naked City (1948). New York is the titular ‘naked city’ – and Dassin doesn’t hold back from fusing his Noir narrative with cinema verite-style documentary photography. 

When a beautiful former model is murdered in her apartment, two detectives – one a grizzled veteran of the force, the other barely three months in the job – must solve the case in the City That Never Sleeps. The narrative winds its way through the characters of the city, and in classic Noir style, laying bare people and location. 

One of the film’s taglines was “filmed through the eyes of the New York homicide squad!”: The Naked City is notable for its real-life on screen feel, as the film was shot almost entirely on location in the Big Apple. 

Highly influenced by Italian neorealism, director Dassin and cinematographer William H Daniels took street shooting to new heights, using concealed cameras and buskers to distract crowds to obtain a greater degree of naturalism in the film. 

Acclaimed director Stanley Kubrick spent some time on the set of The Naked City as a teenager, taking photos for Look magazine. Kubrick later used New York photographer Arthur “Weegee” Fellig, whose book Naked City was in part the inspiration for Dassin’s film of the same name, as the special effects supervisor on Dr Strangelove. Weegee’s voice was also mimicked by Peter Sellers in his Dr Strangelove role. 


Nov 27 2023


6:15 pm - 7:55 pm