Naked City: Button in the Haystack

Naked City: Button in the Haystack

Director: David Lowell Rich, Elliot Silverstein, Tay Garnett
Cast: Albert Salmi

DVD (Black & White)


Naked City: Button In The Haystack opens with the first episode ("A Hole In The City") of the hour-long version of the crime series, which ran from 1960 until 1963. As it happens, "A Hole In The City" is one of the strongest opening episodes that one could hope for in a series, especially one that was on its second go-around (a 1/2 hour version of the program with a different lead cast had been cancelled the season before) -- a band of hold-up men led by sociopath Lewis Nunda (Robert Duvall) end up holding the occupants of a Bronx apartment building against a police siege. The familiar faces are amazing, and not just Robert Duvall and Sylvia Sidney as the key guest stars, but also Edward Asner as the commander of a precinct where the hold-up men are hiding, Richard X. Slattery as a uniformed officer, Godfrey Cambridge as a victim, Lou Antonio as one of the killers, and -- shadow of Yankee Stadium the walk-up layout of the building and its staircase, built around a narrow square, which will prove essential to one of the most violent denouements of any police show of its era. "Button In A Haystack," directed by Tay Garnett, settled into the actual tenor of the series, which was less focused on violence and action than the human dimension to crime, the people who commit it, and the people who solve it. Albert Salmi plays a poor slob with a record who finds himself implicated in a murder he didn't commit, and who has no way of clearing himself -- in his fear of being accused of the crime, he inadvertently destroyed a key piece of evidence that could have cleared him. Nancy Malone plays detective Paul Burke's fiancee, and could easily have made male viewers of the era envious of the character. "Shoes For Vinnie Winford" is a very strange story -- one which might easily have been written for the Alfred Hitchcock Hour -- about the mentally unbalanced heir (Dennis Hopper) to a fortune who may be responsible for the disappearance of a dancer who was fired from a club that he runs -- the detectives need convincing at first that the supposed victim even existed. The direction, by Elliot Silverstein (Cool Hand Luke), allows the acting to go a way over the top; Hopper is as guilty of it as most of the rest of the cast, but more interesting to watch; the others look foolish and awkward. "Vengeance Is A Wheel" is a story of family revenge against a trio of robbers, set largely in Little Italy, without too many special flourishes. The disc opens automatically on the first episode and can be played straight through across four hours of material. The transfers are excellent, and the episodes look better than many black-and-white movies of the same period -- the shows are virtually a travelog of New York City circa 1960. Each show gets seven chapter markers, which includes a separate one for the closing credits -- the menu, which must be accessed manually, is a little bit difficult to maneuver around, though the chapters are well named and chosen.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/14/2003
UPC: 0014381185829
Original Release: 0000
Rating: NR
Source: Image Entertainment
Region Code: 1
Presentation: [B&W]
Sound: [Dolby Digital Mono]
Time: 3:25:00

Special Features

[None specified]

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The Chase [10:43]
2. Hiding Out [7:24]
3. Closing In [10:06]
4. Shootout [6:25]
5. Stand-Off [7:07]
6. Bad Memories [8:26]
7. End Credits [:51]
1. Murder on A Thursday Morning
2. "A Lot of Nothing"
3. The Nest Egg
4. Looking For A Gun
5. The Trail Goes Cold
6. From Hand to Hand
7. End Credits
1. Taking Over For Dead
2. The Tango Palace
3. Betrayal
4. Checking Licenses
5. Two For One
6. Hospital Getaway
7. End Credits
1. Little Girl Lost
2. The Crime Spree Continues
3. Blood For Blood
4. Investigating Al
5. The Keys of Death
6. Useless Vendetta
7. End Credits

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Naked City: Button in the Haystack 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
NAKED CITY was without arguement one of the greatest dramatic series in the history of television. These 1 hour episodes are from the series reincarnation after debuting as a 30 minute series in the late 1950's. Like early television, it was a proving ground for young talent, none more evident here as seen in HOLE IN THE CITY, featuring Robert Duvall (Duvall appeared in no less than 4 episodes over the series run) and SHOES FOR VINNIE WINFORD, with Dennis Hopper showcasing what would become his trademark celluloid psycho (it's BLUE VELVET's Frank Booth 25 years ahead of its time). Before screenwriter Sterling Silliphant won an Oscar for IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, he penned many of the classic episodes. This is great stuff!!!