IMDb > While America Sleeps (1939)

While America Sleeps (1939) More at IMDbPro »


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Karl Kamb (screenplay)
Karl Kamb (story)
View company contact information for While America Sleeps on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
15 April 1939 (USA) See more »
An episode in the "Crime Does Not Pay" series. Dave Miller, an aircraft plant worker, is actually selling secret bomber plans to foreign agents... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
OK "Crime Does Not Pay." See more (2 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Dick Purcell ... Dave Miller (as Richard G. Purcell)
Lenita Lane ... Mary Miller
Egon Brecher ... Klaus
Frederick Vogeding ... Spy Chief (as Fred Vogeding)

Roland Varno ... Spy Henchman
Richard Lane ... Agent Carmichael
Paul Stanton ... Arthur A. Sears
Steve Pendleton ... George (as Gaylord Pendleton)
Charles Trowbridge ... Barton

Robert Winkler ... Bill Miller

John Hamilton ... Chief of Intelligence
Phillip Terry ... MGM Crime Reporter
Richard Tucker ... Air Force Colonel
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ralph Dunn ... Factory Foreman (uncredited)
Chuck Hamilton ... Police Driver (uncredited) (archive footage)
Charles Murphy ... Foreman (uncredited)
Bob Reeves ... Policeman (uncredited)

Directed by
Fred Zinnemann 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Karl Kamb  screenplay
Karl Kamb  story

Produced by
Jack Chertok .... producer
Cinematography by
Paul Vogel 
Film Editing by
Ralph Goldstein  (as Ralph E. Goldstein)
Music Department
William Axt .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
David Snell .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Crime Does Not Pay No. 22: While America Sleeps" - USA (series title)
See more »
21 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
OK "Crime Does Not Pay.", 4 April 2013
Author: Mozjoukine ( from Australia

Fred Zinnman manages a slight shift in emphasis and gets a quite lively ending intercutting the fifth columnists' factory fire (cf. the one in his STUFFIE) with the punch-up between Purcell and the government agent. Otherwise it's clearly part of it's series.

The several thousand fold increase in WW2 spy activity in "a country whose sole intention is to stay at peace in a troubled world" means agent Lane and his men must foil Brecher, Vogeding and Varno's dastardly plot to sneak the latest American aviation engineering abroad.

Family man Purcell lives in the MGM tract home with wife Lane and their child but he's taking cash on the side for the photos of blueprints he makes with a borrowed camera. The spy team want the new bomb site, demonstrated with aviation stock footage in front of a terrible photo mural. Fat chance with US agents on their tail.

OK entry in this atitudinizing series.

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