The Naked City (1948)

The Naked City, Jules Dassin. 1948. The DNA of this film can be found in everything from forensic cop TV shows to postmodern jazz albums to docu-dramas and more. The framing and cutting set the standard for TV cop shows that would follow in the 1950s; the emphasis on police procedure parallels in chicken-and-egg fashion the technology-driven plots of Dragnet (already on radio in 1947; TV in 1951). The odd use of narrative voice over by the producer (not a character in the show) creates a distancing device; the VO often comments on the scenes as they happen, creating cognitive dissonance between action and narration that a later generation of postmodern critics would come to call ‘metatextual framing.’ The on-location visuals of New York recall crime scene photos—Weegee was a creative consultant on the movie—that create a sense of immediacy and verisimilitude that become the basis for the entire docu-dramas genre. No wonder then that when John Zorn released the first album by his NY-based avant-garde jazz/punk band (called, what else? ‘Naked City’) in 1989, he used a Weegee image on the cover. Watching the original film now is like looking at cave paintings: in it we see a whole history not yet born but with which we are already familiar.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

MY ODYSSEY

Being Part of Our Great History...

Forgotten Films

A look at the movies forgotten by time

Bunhead

Give her food and she will conquer the world

Wonderful Cinema

Short reviews on high quality films. No spoilers.

pacificREVIEW

An annual review of prose, poetry, and artwork, published in affiliation with San Diego State University

HAJI MAJI

SCRATCHY OLD ASIAN MUSIC

Street Talk

Word on the street is...

%d bloggers like this: