Claude M. Gruener | Austin, TX United States | 03/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is no payroll for Naked City dvds, so I am still not on it....and I don't want to be.
Buy this DVD, however, and watch it with a good stiff drink. Superb performances by everyone...but mostly by the city of New York, circa 1959-63. (A very different place then!) Film noir at its best before film noir was a buzzword...gritty, real, filmed on the streets..an incredible look at NYC with believeable heart-wrenching stories (with humor, too) and totally unreal performances. This set of DVDs is worth the price just for one of the hour-long episodes, starring pekingese-faced Madeleine Sherwood and John Larch. Such brilliant performances. As a bonus you get Paul Burke and lovely Nancy Malone (epitome of NY sophistication when I lived there)...plus all the other regulars. You are transported back to the 50's and 60's in NYC. If you don't want to go, don't buy it.
I just wish the DVDs played better on my player. Hard to move around on them...and sometimes they won't play at all...but then I throw them onto my computer and they play perfectly. But any problems are worth it...the soundtrack, the Naked City theme, the reality of the plots and characters, and being transported magically back to New York in those somehow simpler days.
Try it, you'll like it."
David Janssen as a dying executive
Cheyenne Bodie | 11/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"David Janssen is the star of "On the Battlefront Every Moment is Important". The co-writer of that episode is series story editor Howard Rodman, who would create Janssen's "Harry O" a decade later. Janssen would start playing "The Fugitive" the year after this episode aired.
Janssen plays the owner of an advertising agency who is dying of leukemia. Janssen decides intelligent, creative, focused Detective Adam Flint (Paul Burke) is the right man to take over his company. Flint, who is investigating a theft at the company, must decide whether to leave the force for the challenges and rewards of running a business.
One scene was filmed in the famous restaurant "Danny's Hideaway", and propreitor Danny has a role.
This was one of Janssen's very few performances prior to "The Fugitive" where he showed the gravitas he would give to the character of Dr. Richard Kimble. I think this episode might have influenced producer Roy Huggins when he created "Run For Your Life", a series about a man (Ben Gazzara) with only a year or two to live.
This was Janssen's second guest star role on "Naked City". He also guest starred once on "Route 66", which had the same executive producer (Bert Leonard). Janssen was a close and long time friend of series star Paul Burke. Janssen, Burke, Martin Milner ("Route 66") and Clint Eastwood had small roles in one of Universal's "Francis, The Talking Mule" movies in the mid 1950's.
"Naked City" used the best actors in America as guest stars, such as George C. Scott, Lee J. Cobb, Peter Falk and Walter Mathau. Janssen wasn't in that league, but he was at his best on this show.
Janssen isn't listed on the box as one of the stars of these episodes of "Naked City". I wonder why. Janssen was arguably as big a star as Robert Culp and Tony Franciosa. Is he that forgotton? Or is he not considered to be as good an actor as the others?
I think it would have been a shrewder marketing move to put his name on the cover. There are still a lot of people who fondly remember David Janssen."
Very Good, But......
J. Fay | NYC, USA | 01/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After purchasing two other sets of Naked City DVDs, I have to say that this #3 was NOT Naked City's "finest hours."
It seems to me that by the time the Naked City writers got to the year 1963 (the show's last season), they must have started to get burnt out on story lines. With the other disks, I found myself watching the whole four one-hour episodes in one sitting, but these disks (it's a three-disk set) I found myself stopping mid-way to go to bed.
The investigation plot was somewhat confusing, compounded by a script made up of inane wording requiring the viewer to stop and think, "What did he just say, and what does it have to do with the story?" Basically...and sadly...it seemed that the writers had a hard time filling the the one-hour show.
All-in-all, the shows are good, if for only the NYC scenery and watching then-unknown actors (like Dustin Hoffman and Christopher Walken, and "Law and Order" DA Stephen Hill as a young man) play some of their first roles in show buisiness.
If you are an old-time New Yorker, and a fan of old black-and-white TV, you'll enjoy having the whole Naked City set."
An outstanding series to the very end
William Timothy Lukeman | 03/04/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This third set of the classic TV series "Naked City" showcases episodes from its final season, and the quality of writing & acting is just as good as ever. As in previous seasons, varying emotional tones are used for very different types of stories: slice of life, psychological depth, absurdist drama, magic realism, character study, and more. In each case, it's more like watching a short film or a stage play than typical weekly television. The standards are high, and the show's creators always respect the intelligence of their audience.
A few examples:
"The Apple Falls Not Far From The Tree" -- Keir Dullea is wonderfully creepy & smug as a rich man's utterly amoral, self-centered son, whose father is reluctant to recognize the failure of a human being he has raised. While detective Adam Flint often has sympathy for some of the criminals he encounters, his disgust for this sorry specimen is shared by the viewer. And it's a familiar specimen, one we've all probably encountered at some point -- often in places of power.
"One, Two, Three, Rita Rakahowski" -- Tony Fransciosa delivers a dazzling performance in this absurdist yet poignant drama that only suffers for having too many ideas & too little time to develop them. It really cries out to be a full-length play ... although I can understand that this sort of experimentation might not be to everyone's taste. More credit to the show for being willing & eager to attempt it! A fascinating look at isolation, the search for love & human connection, and the self-imposed barriers that imprison us. This one's particularly worth repeated viewings & discussion.
"Golden Lads and Girls" -- This must be one of the earliest TV shows to deal seriously with spousal abuse, pointing out that it's not restricted to the working class, as was commonly thought back then. One of the abusers is a successful executive, someone who supposedly has everything - the sort of man who would never, no, never hit his wife! Except that he does, and is sent into therapy for it, along with a blue collar abuser. There they must both wrestle with their inner demons, even as their wives try to rebuild their marriages.
"The S.S. American Dream" -- Starting with its deliberately symbolic title, this is an exceptional episode, even for such an exceptional show. John Larch delivers a gut-wrenching performance as a man facing midlife, visibly coming apart, struggling to salvage not merely a ship, but his life & his dreams. And while that would be more than sufficient for the episode, it also offers supporting characters who could easily carry their own stories: the partner whose cheap apartment is filled with mementoes of other people's lives, filling the void in his own; the wife living in a bitter fantasy, yearning for the children & life she never had; the employee with the dying son, wondering aloud what sort of God allows such suffering to take place. As with many of the episodes, it doesn't offer a false happy ending -- it simply presents us with this crumbling man & leaves us to draw our own conclusions. As a previous reviewer noted, the entire set is worth it for this episode alone.
It's a pity these sets are already out of print. I continue to hope for an eventual release of complete season sets, including the half-hour first season. But if you can find a copy of this set, get it -- most highly recommended!