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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Jules Dassin
USA 1948

“There are eight million stories in the Naked City,” as the narrator immortally states at the close of this breathtakingly vivid film—and this is one of them. Master noir craftsman Jules Dassin and newspaperman-cum-producer Mark Hellinger’s dazzling police procedural, The Naked City, was shot entirely on location in New York. As influenced by Italian neorealism as American crime fiction, this double Academy Award winner, The Naked City remains a benchmark for naturalism in noir, living and breathing in the promises and perils of the Big Apple, from its lowest depths to its highest skyscrapers.

***

Amid a semi-documentary portrait of New York and its people, Jean Dexter, attractive blonde model, is murdered in her apartment and homicide detectives Dan Muldoon and Jimmy Halloran investigate. Suspicion falls on various shifty characters who all prove to have some connection with a string of apartment burglaries. Then a burglar is found dead who once had an elusive partner named Willie... The climax is a very rapid manhunt sequence. All filmed on location.

 

Posters

 

Theatrical Release: March 4th, 1948

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Comparison: 

Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Spine # 380

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:35:51 1:35:57 1:35:57.042 

Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.1 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.35 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,968,670,773 bytes

Feature: 28,261,408,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate : Image Entertainment

Bitrate: Criterion

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono) English (Dolby Digital 1.0)

LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles None English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Image Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Original: 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (2:37 / 4:3)

DVD Release Date: June 29th, 1999
Keep case

Chapters 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion
 

 

Aspect Ratio:
Original: 1.33:1

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by screenwriter Malvin Wald
• An analysis of the film’s New York locations by Celluloid Skyline author James Sanders (26:03)
• Interview with NYU film professor Dana Polan (28:08)
• Footage of Jules Dassin from his 2004 appearance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (40:38)
• Stills gallery
• 14-page liner notes booklet essay by Luc Sante and production notes from producer Mark Hellinger to Dassin
 

DVD Release Date: March 20th, 2007
Transparent Keep Case

Chapters 25

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,968,670,773 bytes

Feature: 28,261,408,320 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.92 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Edition Details:

• Audio commentary by screenwriter Malvin Wald
• Jules Dassin at LACMA a 40-minute interview with Bruce Goldstein in which the director discusses his career (52:01)

• New York and The Naked City with Amy Taubin (39:41)
• The Hollywood Ten a 1950 documentary short on the ten filmmakers blacklisted from Hollywood for their refusal to name names before the House of Un-American Activities, including The Naked City's screenwriter, Albert Maltz (14:44)
• Gallery of production stills by infamous photojournalist Weegee (1:07)
• Theatrical trailer (1:52)
• Reversible sleeve featuring the original poster and newly commissioned artwork by Vladimir Zimakov
• Collector's booklet containing new writing on the film by Alastair Philips, Barry Salt and Sergio Angelini, illustrated with original production stills

Blu-ray Release Date: October 27th, 2014
Digibook
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 13

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray (October 2014): This looks pretty good. I love the textures prevalent in the higher resolution. It has the same light scratches and marks as the Criterion.  The film is shot with a fair amount of 'stock'-looking footage of the resdients of NYC and it has varying quality. The HD picks them up with a little more prominence but they are few and far between. Conversely, they detail is also heighted as are the black levels. It is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate and looks fabulous in-motion.

 

the audio is transferred via linear PCM mono track. The sparsely utilized score is by Frank Skinner and the iconic Miklós Rózsa (The Lost Weekend, The Killers, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Double Indemnity). Leaning to a vérité-documentary style there isn't much in the way of music-infused drama (it's seems sporadic but intense when used) - excepting the ongoing narration and the conclusion. It does sound crisp and deep in the uncompressed. Arrow add optional English subtitles on their Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.  

 

Arrow add the 'deliberately paced' audio commentary by screenwriter Malvin Wald as found on the Criterion 2007 DVD. Plus they have 52-minutes of footage of Jules Dassin, interviewed with Bruce Goldstein, at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in April 2004, in which the director discusses his career (sound distortion is inherent in the original recording). New York and The Naked City - a, 40-minute, personalized account of NYC on the big screen by critic and lifelong New Yorker Amy Taubin - recorded in August 2014. The Hollywood Ten is a 15-minute, 1950 documentary short, on the ten filmmakers blacklisted from Hollywood for their refusal to name names before the House of Un-American Activities, including The Naked City's screenwriter, Albert Maltz. There is a gallery of production stills by infamous photojournalist Weegee, theatrical trailers for The Naked City, Brute Force and Rififi. The package has a reversible sleeve featuring the original poster and newly commissioned artwork by Vladimir Zimakov including a collector's booklet containing new writing on the film by Alastair Philips, Barry Salt and Sergio Angelini, illustrated with original production stills.

 

A beautiful Blu-ray package from Arrow (a/v and extras - plus choice of film!) - an easy purchase, IMO. Our highest recommendation!

 

***

ON THE DVDs: The comparison is fairly cut-and-dried - the, now out-of-print, Image Entertainment DVD is interlaced (see image below), shows frequent rounded corners and is very dark with highly visible damage marks (so dark that some background details are lost). The Image Ent. does show more information on all 4 sides, but with the rounded corners this is probably not meant to be shown theatrically. The Criterion transfer is again pictureboxed (see our description of 'pictureboxing' in our Kind Hearts and Coronets review). Criterion have included a black border around the edge of the frame to counter overscan on production television sets. It looks excellent with Criterion's meticulous restoration techniques - contrast is pristine. The subtitles and mono audio are again at their lofty standard.

In the commentary screenwriter Malvin Wald informs us, twice in the first 2 minutes alone, that The Naked City was the precursor the Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and later copied by TV shows like NYPD Blue and Dragnet. He makes comparisons to the O.J. Simpson trial. He talks quite slow and stilted, he narrates far too much, and I wouldn't say it is one of the better commentaries that I have heard from Criterion. He does relate some interesting facts such as the genesis of the film's title. I think I got more out of the 28 minute Dana Polan interview as he talks of the juxtaposed relationship of Film Noir to The Naked City and its supportive nature of normalcy and resistance to deviant behaviour. He talks briefly of the voyeuristic feel of many 40's films - peeking through windows as it were. James Sanders gives a great 26 minute talk on the film covering many production points with information on Mark Hellinger and many of the buildings used in the film. He is very knowledgeable and talks at quite a clip squeezing in many salient points - I hope Criterion bring him back for further supplements. There is a stills gallery and an artistic liner notes booklet with an essay by Luc Sante and production notes from producer Mark Hellinger to Dassin.

The Naked City has a lot of pioneering history associated with it and although I enjoyed this Criterion DVD but I think I prefer Brute Force as a straight Noir film (from Dassin) and I really look forward to that releases by Criterion. 

Gary W. Tooze

 


Menus

(Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC RIGHT)

 
 
 

 

Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

Image Entertainment has no subtitles

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

NOTE: The Image Entertainment DVD is interlaced (non-progressive) as indicated by the 'combing'

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


 

1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Image Entertainment - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion / Arrow Blu-ray

 


 
Box Covers

Distribution

Image Entertainment

Region 0 - NTSC

Criterion Collection - Spine # 380

Region 1 - NTSC

Arrow  - Region 'B' - Blu-ray


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