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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Naked City (1948) d. Jules Dassin

Jules Dassin

Movie Review
The Naked City (1948)
d. Jules Dassin
Criterion Collection #380

  Man just when I think I've got a handle on the scope of the Criterion Collection it's, "BAM!" Another major American film maker who was instrumental in developing a genre that YOU like (film noir) and you've never seen ANY of his movies."

  Dassin made a series of documentary/italian neo realism influenced crime procedurals that became synonymous with the genre of film noir.  His career was interrupted by being black listed during the 50s, but rebounded in Europe (Rififi was made in France in 1955.)

  The main film noir Dassin titles are this one, Night and the City (1950) and Brute Force (1947.)  The Naked City is the most stylistically distinctive of the three films with all the scenes being shot "in the wild" often through mirrors or from inside motor vehicles.  The dual influence of Weegee type crime photography and European art film seems obvious sixty years down the road, I can see why The Naked City has endured.

  At the same time, the story of The Naked City- a garden variety police procedural- is garden variety b crime picture, making a viewing a bit of an academic exercise vs. a "fun" movie watching picture. 

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