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Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS tries hard to be a major film noir, and does not quite make it. If THE RACKET had a promising central figure at sixes and sevens with the legal and illegal authorities, but no character development to explain how he got the way he did, CITY tries to be a film noir variant of those films like IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE or AN INSPECTOR CALLS where characters are not quite human, and are intermingling (and bedeviling) humans and their motivations.
We are watching Gig Young, a career cop from a family of cops, who is slowly being corrupted by crooked big - time lawyer Edward Arnold. Young is basically acting like a go-between between Arnold and the police, tipping the lawyer off about current investigations. He does get well paid for this, but he has to deal with Arnold's right hand man William Talman, who is not to be trusted. Young does not like Talman's cultivating Young's younger brother - possibly turning him into a complete criminal. He does not realize that Talman is also working in cahoots with Arnold's trophy wife (Marie Windsor) to get the upper hand over the lawyer. Young's own behavior is not really liked by his father, an honest old style cop who is regarded as a hero by the department.
You can see that the situation is going to lead to disaster. Young is working an evening shift, and his partner is unable to show up. An unknown Police Sergeant (Chill Wills) takes the partner's place, and the two go around the night world of the city. And while they do so, both are unaware of the explosions about to rend apart the worlds of Arnold, Windsor, and Talman - and dragging in Young's younger brother.
Some things to watch in the film: Talman (having shot someone) is aware that the only "witness" is a figure in a window. Is it a mechanical man or a real witness? Talman has to spend hours watching, and to see if the figure remains "mechanical" or not.
See also the sequence where Young chases Talman along a deserted set of elevated train tracks through Chicago. It is a tense and exciting sequence.
Finally, note the appearance (in his first movie role according to this board) of comedian Tom Poston as a police officer, who gets involved in a situation that is far from amusing. It's an odd first role for such a funny figure to have played at all.
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