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Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'Naked City: 20 Star-Filled Episodes'

Dennis King Published: February 18, 2013

This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:

“Naked City: 20 Star-Filled Episodes (1963)”

“There are eight million stories in the Naked City,” the famed New York City detective series’ prelude intoned. And two score of the best are offered up in “Naked City: 20 Star Filled Episodes” (due out on DVD Tuesday).

One of the first TV cop series to be filmed entirely in New York, the 1958-63 crime drama served as a training ground for numerous young actors during its tenure – including Sandy Dennis, Peter Fonda, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Gene Hackman, Diane Ladd, William Shatner and Jon Voight.

The Emmy Award-winning show distinguished itself by pushing beyond the standard good-versus-evil formula of most crime shows and reaching a more complex style of real-life crime and the unpredictability of human failings.

The series focused on the lives of detectives working out of New York’s 65th precinct.

Season one stars were Lt. Dan Muldoon and Det. Jim Halloran (John McIntire and James Franciscus); seasons 2-4 stars were Det. Adam Flint and Lt. Mike Parker (Paul Burke and Horace McMahon).

The release of this 20-episode compilation falls in line with Image Entertainment’s pattern of piecemeal distribution. Several individual-episode DVDs and various collections of episodes have already appeared on the video market. In tandem with the “20 Star-Filled Episodes” (mainly from 1963), the company is also putting out a “Best of Naked City” disc.

Among the notable episodes included in the newest DVD is “Robin Hood and Clarence Darrow They Went Out with the Bow and Arrow,” featuring Christopher Walken, “Prime of Life” with Gene Hackman, and “The Night the Saints Lost Their Halos,” with Peter Fonda and Martin Sheen.

“Naked City: 20 Star-Filled Episodes” is not rated and runs 972 minutes on five discs. It’s being released by Image Entertainment.

- Dennis King