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The Naked City

The Naked City(1948)

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The working title of the film was Homicide. The film contains no opening credits; instead, the picture opens with producer Mark Hellinger's oral narration, in which he states the film's title, identifies the screenwriters, director of photography, director and stars, then explains that, unlike most Hollywood films, The Naked City was shot in New York City, using actual locations and citizens. The film ends with Hellinger uttering the famous lines "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them." Within the written end credits, Hellinger expresses "his deep gratitude to the mayor and police commissioner of New York City. Without their cooperation, this film could not have been made." The Naked City was Hellinger's final film; he died from a heart attack on 21 December 1947.
       According to Hollywood Reporter, The Naked City was also the title of a documentary short produced by Weegee, a noted photojournalist. Hellinger arranged to purchase the title for his feature film, and Weegee's short was released as Weegee's New York. Weegee, in turn, worked as the official still photographer on The Naked City. Universal press materials state that over a quarter million feet of film was shot in the making of The Naked City, and that concealed cameras were used in order to capture authentic action in the congested areas of New York. Universal press materials also point out that, of the twenty-four featured roles in The Naked City, only four were played by "Hollywood actors," with the other parts filled by New York radio and stage actors, including James Gregory and Walter Burke, who made their screen debuts in the film.
       Hellinger, director Jules Dassin and cinematographer William Daniels had previously worked together on the 1947 Universal release Brute Force (see entry above). Daniels and editor Paul Weatherwax won Academy Awards for their work on The Naked City. Writer Malvin Wald was nominated for an Academy Award for his original story, but lost to Richard Schweizer and David Wechsler for The Search . The film made both Film Daily's and the London Sunday Graphic's "ten best" list for 1948. Modern film scholars consider The Naked City a ground-breaking film, as it marked the introduction of Italian neorealism aesthetics into American mainstream cinema. The Naked City was the basis for television series of the same name, which was aired on the ABC network from 1958 to 1963 and utilized the same signature closing line as the film.