For me the first time I watched it earlier this year, The Naked City (Netflix link here) fell short of the critical acclaim it enjoyed in 1949 or since. I was still compelled to watch the Jules Dassin's Noir thriller again.
I've decided that it is Barry Fitzgerald's casually natural performance as a detective that appeals to me. He definitely paved the way for characters like Columbo, just as an Irishman. He was in a lot of movies, so if you've watched a lot of old ones, you'll probably recognize him. He's easy to like is all. The cinematography is solid, too. I appreciated watching the black and white murder mystery plot unfold in 1948 New York City (shot entirely on location rather than in studios). Even the litter blowing in the streets held my interest. The documentary style compliments the story, too.
Oddly, and I guess happily, there are a few zinger moments that stood out enough to make me wonder how to develop a drinking game for the movie. I couldn't think of a game, but I recommend watching the movie with someone else so you can share these zingers. Maybe it just makes a good social movie.
- 1) a bold outfit of plaid shorts with a matching plaid cropped top worn by a housewife character in a hideously dated scene on parenting
- 2) an awesome melodramatic face-slapping scene with a woman (Dorothy Hart) yelling at her fiance (Howard Duff), "You're lying!"
- 3) a super creepy scene with a pair of hairy sweaty wrestlers. The regular glimpses of NYC subways, store fronts and kids skipping rope.
P.S. It's also freaky to think that Barry Fitzgerald was born in 1888, too. He died in 1961. It sounds so old.