Excellent police procedural with Barry Fitzgerald leading the investigation into the murder of a model. Don’t miss this one. It’s narrated by producer and columnist Mark Hellinger. It was filmed in New York City and not a Hollywood studio. The movie does contain the phrase, “There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.”
It starts with a montage of night time in New York. Two men murder a woman by drowning her in the bathtub. Early in the morning the two are on the waterfront by the East River. One of them is drunk and won’t stop drinking. The other has had enough and slams him on the head with a piece of wood and tosses his body in the water.
The medical examiner says Jean Dexter was murdered. It’s not an accidental drowning. Detective Lt.Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) is assigned the case. He’s aided by Jimmy Halloran (Don Taylor) who has a lot of pavement pounding ahead of him.
Jean modeled in a dress shop but was fired when wives objected to their husbands paying too much attention to her. Her doctor is asked about her sleeping pills and her ex boyfriend Frank Niles (Howard Duff) is brought in for questioning. They haven’t been able to find a man named Henderson. His pajamas were found in Jean’s apartment.
Jean’s co-worker Ruth Morrison (Dorothy Hart) is brought in. Niles says he may have met her. Turns out she’s his fiancee. That’s the first of many lies Niles is caught up in. Further investigation shows Niles to be a jewel thief.
The body has been found in the river. It takes a while for a connection to be made. To give anything away from this point on wouldn’t be right. Just enjoy it.
Look fast for Kathleen Freeman as a subway passenger, Bruce “Frank Nitti” Gordon as a cop on the beat and Molly Picon as the owner of a soda shop. Other actors to spot…quickly are: Walter Burke, Paul Ford, James Gregory, John Marley, Arthur O’Connell, David Opatoshu and Nehemiah Persoff.