Best Movies by Farr

The Naked City

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What's it About

When a high-class model is murdered in her bathtub on New York's Upper West Side, veteran detective Lt. Dan Muldoon (Fitzgerald) is called in to solve the crime. Tediously reconstructing the previous 18 months of the young woman's decadent social life, Muldoon, along with sidekick Jimmy Halloran (Taylor), pursues a seemingly endless string of weak leads and no-account witnesses in hopes of cracking the case.

Why we love it

Shot entirely on location in 1940s Manhattan, this semi-documentary police procedural offers a day-to-day look at the life of the Big Apple, its varied denizens, and the routine of two cops-old hand Fitzgerald (who quietly steals the film) and the dutiful but still green Taylor, who are out to catch the killer of a young model. Soon the fast-talking Frank Niles, who knew the deceased and has no alibi, emerges as the prime suspect. Director Dassin handles all the action with a matter-of-fact directness, but the great achievement of "City" is its verisimilitude of character and places, along with a final chase scene on the Williamsburg Bridge that will steal your breath away. There might be "8 million stories in the naked city," but this sinister crime drama was the first — and is still the best. (Trivia note: this film was said to have inspired "Dragnet.")

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The Naked Gun

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"