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While the City Sleeps (1956)

A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York, and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the 1st administrator who can get the earliest scoops on the case.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Casey Robinson (screenplay), Charles Einstein (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dana Andrews ... Edward Mobley
Rhonda Fleming ... Dorothy Kyne
George Sanders ... Mark Loving
Howard Duff ... Lt. Burt Kaufman
Thomas Mitchell ... Jon Day Griffith
Vincent Price ... Walter Kyne
Sally Forrest ... Nancy Liggett
John Drew Barrymore ... Robert Manners (as John Barrymore Jr.)
James Craig ... 'Honest' Harry Kritzer
Ida Lupino ... Mildred Donner
Robert Warwick ... Amos Kyne
Mae Marsh ... Mrs. Manners
Ralph Peters ... Gerald Meade
Sandra White Sandra White ... Judith Felton (as Sandy White)
Larry J. Blake ... Tim - Police Desk Sergeant (as Larry Blake)
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Storyline

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 <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They's sell out their own mothers! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 May 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

News Is Made at Night See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was based on a real murder case that took place in 1946. In that year William Heirens killed three women and left a message scrawled in lipstick on a bathroom mirror after the second murder. In the message he urged the police to catch him before he killed again. Because of this the press dubbed him The Lipstick Killler. See more »

Goofs

When the murderer opens the envelope that came with the flowers outside the door of Nancy's apt. he uses a knife to cut open the envelope, then when he puts the card back in the envelope he licks the envelope flap and closes it...it was not cut. See more »

Quotes

Ed Mobely: You know, you have very nice legs.
Nancy Liggett: Aren't you sweet.
Ed Mobely: Nice stockings too. What holds your stockings up?
Nancy Liggett: There's a lot your mother should have told you.
Ed Mobely: I didn't ask my mother. I asked you.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
While the director is half asleep
16 October 2017 | by jc-osmsSee all my reviews

Not one of the great Fritz Lang's greatest, "While The City Sleeps" despite its great Film Noir title never really wakens itself up. It has its moments but with a confusing plot-line, some confused casting and acting to go with it, it was something of a disappointment to this long-term Lang fan.

It starts well enough with the shocking murder of a young girl in her apartment, although too soon we're shown who the murderer is, a young Elvis lookalike and given the usual Freudian explanations - father left when he was young, mother wanted a girl instead of a boy - for his crimes. Hitchcock of course treated the subject of a mother-fixated psychopath just a bit better a few years later and I would doubt he learned much from his great contemporary's earlier take on the subject.

Mixed in with this is a weird background story of three prominent newspaper staff members set against each other for the top job on the paper by a miscast Vincent Price as the heir to the paper's owner who conveniently dies barely minutes into the film. The late mogul's preferred choice to take over the reins is crusading Pulitzer Prize winning author and now occasional reporter and TV broadcaster, Dana Andrews, whose character appears more often drunk than sober and who has an unattractively off-hand way with his adoring girlfriend, at one point offering her as bait for the killer without even asking her. To be fair, this race to the top amongst the three contenders holds almost no viewer interest and only detracts from the main plot. Throw in Ida Lupino as an on-the-make female reporter, content to seduce Andrews at the behest of her equally miscast editor boss George Sanders, Rhonda Fleming as Price's philandering wife and Sally Forrest, with a trendy boy-ish hair cut as Andrews' too young now-she-loves-him, now-she-doesn't girlfriend and there really are too many cooks spoiling this particular pot-boiler.

There are also several scenes which are just plain odd, like when Lupino's character attempts to beguile Andrews by using an old-fashioned, supposedly salacious spectrograph which turns out to contains an image of a swaddling baby or when Price, in a natty pair of shorts practises his putting while in conversation with his statuesque wife who is striking poses in her beach-wear.

The film really had no attractive characters and the female characters in particular are poorly written. There is a noticeably adult approach to the filming of the loosely-termed love scenes (one especially where an adulterous conversation is played out with a bed prominently in the background) and the final attack on Price's wife is noticeably realistic, but this film lacks the imaginative flair of director Lang's best work and ranks as one of his few failures in my book.


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