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While the City Sleeps (1956)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 30 May 1956 (USA)
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:

TEN TOP STARS! TEN PEAK PERFORMANCES! 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 small television Robert has in his room is a 1955 Zenith 17-inch model T1816 "Cambridge". Advertising literature referred to this set as a "portable", despite it weighing 45 pounds (20.4 kg). 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

 
Lang tries a more popular style of crime drama as his American career winds down
28 June 2004 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

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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