Two women love the same man in a world of few prospects. In Budapest, Liliom is a "public figure," a rascal who's a carousel barker, loved by the experienced merry-go-round owner and by a ... See full summary »
Death of media magnat Amos Kyne is causing power struggle between his executives. In the meantime New York women become prey of a serial killer. Reporter Edward Mobley is in that circumstances faced with almost impossible missions: to catch the killer, to prevent the media empire from falling into the wrong hands and to save his romantic relationship from break-up. Written by
Dragan Antulov <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The sequence depicting the New York subway was actually filmed in the Los Angeles subway. See more »
When Barrymore Jr. is watching Andrews on TV, he is clutching a copy of "Tales From The Crypt". When he drops it to the floor, a close-up of the comic book now shows it to be titled "The Strangler". See more »
Lang tries a more popular style of crime drama as his American career winds down
Tugboats scudding down a dark river nudge us urgently into `New York City Tonight.' Fritz Lang's While The City Sleep opens like an urban legend: A drugstore delivery man (John Barrymore, Jr.) invades an apartment on a quiet street of brownstones and murders a young woman. Scrawled on the wall in lipstick is a cryptic, chilling order `Ask mother.'
But Lang swiftly shifts registers; the young psycho-killer is but leaven for his loaf. His prime focus proves to be how the search to catch the culprit plays out in the executive suite of a huge media syndicate. Its founder, Amos Kyne (Robert Warwick), rules his empire from a hospital bed in his office; his last order, before his ticker tocks its last, is to label the anonymous Barrymore `the lipstick killer' and play him big. (`Kyne' seems deliberately to evoke another press magnate, Charles Foster Kane, even down to the maps showing his coast-to-coast reach and the encircled `K' logo that could have been ripped off the gates of Xanadu.)
Kyne's power, however, devolves to his pompous, petty son (Vincent Price). Knowing they hold him in contempt, he sets the heads of his various divisions to finding the killer, with a new directorship as the prize. Among the contenders are Thomas Mitchell, editor of the syndicate's flagship newspaper, the Sentinel; George Sanders, chief of its wire service; and James Craig, who runs its photo operation. Above the fray is Pulitzer-Prize winning TV commentator Dana Andrews, whose only ambition is to be left alone to pursue his drinking and his girl (Sally Forrest). Nor are any women eligible for the prize, though Price's trophy wife (Rhonda Fleming) pulls strings on behalf of her lover Craig, while mink-wrapped sob sister Ida Lupino (`Champagne cocktail. Brandy float.') initiates like maneuvers for her squeeze, Sanders.
Indifference to the prize, however, doesn't dampen Andrews' journalistic ardor. Not only does he use his broadcast to bait the `momma's boy' (who watches in his jammies as his mother, Mae Marsh, dotingly dithers around), he sets up Forrest as bait. For all his menace, Barrymore's not the brightest lad in the boroughs, and thus can be excused for mixing up his targets....
With its high-powered (and hammy) cast, its blend of psychopathology and cutthroat corporate culture, While The City Sleeps would end up standing as Lang's last American film but one (the far-fetched Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, also starring Andrews). His following so many plot strands results in a thinning of atmosphere, some fragmentation of focus there's a buoyancy of tone which was decidedly absent from his other films of the 50s, like Clash By Night or The Big Heat or Human Desire. While The City Sleeps tempers hard-core noir with more mainstream motives. It's a slick, entertaining, and at times even scary movie.
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