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Wow. What an interesting viewing experiment. Hats off to you. - I wonder how much of Naked City's art direction was deliberately chosen or the the result of no budget. Somehow, I think raw and narcotized might be flip sides of the same truth. You might be interested in Charlie Rose's recent conversation with Weiner, Hamm, and Slattery, available online. I thought Rose was particularly weak (Had he ever seen an entire episode?) but Weiner makes some interesting comments about how his research into the period shaped his approach.

I checked the newscritics comments on the launch of Season 2 - reminds me of the "love to hate" stuff with Studio 60, but in anemic numbers and fewer words, so maybe the fun of that groove is wearing off.

Another similarity with S60: The Mad Men actors are so happy playing their parts. It is deeply nourishing to them. "Characters and relationships" is what they love.

But comments suggest many viewers crave movement!action! - the character stuff isn't cutting it for them.- I'm still trying to figure out if this is a failure in the work, or an altered viewer expectation based on the adrenaline-drenched quality of most of what passes for entertainment, or a combination of both.


I've been watching early Perry Mason episodes recently. Some of it is more upscale and Mad Men-ish, but the same general level of material crappiness for the vast bulk of the population that you describe in Naked City seems to prevail in Perry's L.A. as well. I'm also struck by the widespread acceptance of cynical immorality -- how did those bullet-bra'ed secretaries afford those relatively posh apartments? -- from a generation that would later bewail the lack of morals in the late '60's. (They were right, of course. We didn't have any morals to speak of, but who the hell were they to say so?) To top it off, I just saw Sweet Smell of Success (on TCM) for the first time in decades. More of same. I loved how Sidney Falco had his bedroom right behind the office.

Steven Hart

It's remarkable to see how much sky and light was available to New Yorkers in films like Midnight Cowboy. Even more remarkably, in Executive Suite, there's a shot set in Times Square where you can actually hear a ship's horn in the distance. A reminder of when New York was a real port city.

Exiled in New Jersey

That ship's horn is the driving element in Sabrina, where we see ocean liners....mid-50s it is true, but that entire film is a time capsule to a world long gone.

Bil from Beloit

I have a very distinct memory from 1961 or 62--at around 4 years old, when I went anywhere with my father in his Renault Dauphine (a tin box if there ever was one) I stood on the passenger seat...


fun article on Diahann Carroll in Vogue this month. At 73 she is still impossbile gorgeous.


But that's because Naked City was intentionally (and yes, it was intentional) reaching for exactly that particular aesthetic - and the reason for that was ideological: it's The Naked City because the show was explicitly designed to try to strip away the illusions of New York - which is (both before 1961, then and now) usually highly romanticized in other media portrayals. The Naked City police characters frequently make mention of their exact paychecks - and they are astonishingly low (if I remember correctly, between $100-$200 a week). You're not going to be able to buy nice clothes with that. The show specifically tried to shy away from "glamorous" crimes preferring such things as the Sicilian brothers of a tiny trucking company fighting over who gets to send the trucks where.

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