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While the City Sleeps (1956) [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Dana Andrews, Ida Lupino, Rhonda Fleming, Howard Duff, Vincent Price
  • Directors: Fritz Lang
  • Format: Dolby, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Exposure
  • DVD Release Date: 11 Oct. 2010
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003Q66ZA4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,693 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

'Lang's most underrated movie' - Time Out Film Guide.

While a police-eluding serial killer prowls the New York streets, newspaper publisher Walter Kyne (Vincent Price) pits his three top newsmen against each other to catch the maniac and scoop the story, but in the ensuing chase the hounds become entangled in professional rivalry and romantic complications - with deadly consequences.

Fritz Lang's tense, fast-paced Hollywood thriller features an all-star cast and cinematography by noir maestro Ernest Laszlo (KISS ME DEADLY).

Extra Features: Pressbook gallery, stills and poster gallery. First time on DVD.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
SCARLET STREET aside, WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS may well be Fritz Lang's best American film. Inheriting a media empire after his father dies, his son (Vincent Price) announces his intention to turn over the directorial reins to whoever breaks the story of the notorious "Lipstick Killer", a homicidal, woman hating maniac (John Drew Barrymore Jr., Drew's daddy) still at large. The film's characters, save one, are a nest of vipers. Each looking out for his or her own interests, ethics be damned. George Sanders sends his mistress (Ida Lupino) to pump information from a reporter (Dana Andrews) even if it means bedding him, James Craig engaged in an affair with Price's duplicitous wife (Rhonda Fleming) uses her to advance his chances while Dana Andrews uses his unwilling fiancee (Sally Forrest) as a decoy for the killer. Only Forrest and possibly Thomas Mitchell as the chief editor seem to have any recognizable ethics. Lang keeps the potential for a bombastic thriller by shooting it in a semi-documentary style using Oscar winner Ernest Laszlo's noir-ish B&W cinematography to give it a more subdued look. With Howard Duff, Mae Marsh and Vladimir Sokoloff.

The British import DVD from Indigo is a nice full frame transfer. The film was shot full frame (Lang disliked the wide screen format) and blown up for SuperScope wide screen in theatres.
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The best of Fritz Lang's `newspaper trilogy' of noirs that ended his Hollywood career in the 50s, While the City Sleeps is very good thriller that could have been a great one but still manages to be satisfying enough to forgive its shortcomings. It's certainly got a killer premise and cynicism to spare. When the old-style self-made boss of a media empire dies, his playboy son Vincent Price creates a new post for an executive to do the real work for him - and sets the three candidates the task of tracking down the `Lipstick Killer,' with the winner taking all. The closest to an honest man among them is Thomas Mitchell's old-school newspaper editor, with George Sanders' wire service chief better connected at the best restaurants and hotels than he is on the crime beat and James Craig's picture chief deciding the best way to get the job is to sleep with Price's would-be Lady MacBeth wife Rhonda Fleming. The closest we have to a hero is Dana Andrews' Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist - respected, well-connected, well-liked, a bit too fond of a drink (no acting required there) but his ambition `blunted by kindness.' Initially drawn in as an ally of Mitchell, he soon becomes as hungry as the rest of them, using his girlfriend as bait without even asking her and not above smooching with Ida Lupino's glamorous gossip columnist afterwards. John Drew Barrymore's thinly-drawn homicidal mother's boy may be a psychopath, but they all KNOW what they're doing and do it anyway...

RKO Radio Pictures were almost at the end of the road when they made this in 1956 and towards the end you definitely get the feeling that this could have benefited from a bigger budget - the final chase in particular veers too close to the perfunctory.
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While the City Sleeps is directed by Fritz Lang and adapted to screenplay by Casey Robinson from the novel The Bloody Spur written by Charles Einstein. It stars Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Sally Forrest, John Barrymore Jr, James Craig and Ida Lupino. Music is by Herschel Burke Gilbert and cinematography by Ernest Laszlo.

When media magnate Amos Kyne (Robert Warwick) dies, the running of his empire passes to his aloof son Walter (Price). Expressing his plans to the chief members of staff, Walter explains that an executive position is available for the best applicant. He dangles a carrot in the form of the so called "Lipstick Killer" who is terrorising the city, which ever of the men helps to snare the villain, so shall they be the one who nabs the coveted position.

Fritz Lang's second to last American feature is one of his most cynical pieces of work. Film consists of two plot threads deftly coiled together to create an ironic whole. As the brutal "Lipstick Killer" goes about his dastardly business, the men of the media stoop to amoral lengths chasing the prize offered up by Walter Kyne. There's barely a decent person to be found, even the women who form part of the guys lives are dubious, one is having an affair, another is only too happy to seduce one of the men to feather her own nest. While the only innocent member of the group, Sally Forest's Nancy Liggett, her reward for being a loving innocent is to be offered up as bait for the "Lipstick Killer," and this by the guy we were thinking was our hero of the piece! Lang is clearly enjoying putting the killers "lust" on the same playing field as the media employees "greed.
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A very pleasant surprise.......Picture Quality is good with a reasonably sharp picture but no restoration has been done leaving picture speckling such as dots and dashes......however in my opinion this is not too bad and have seen much worse for example on Warner Archive releases . The film is certainly in the top 10 best Film Noirs ever made and is a very good movie indeed . EXTRAS include Theatrical Trailer , pressbook gallery and Poster AND ENGLISH SUB-TITLES only are INCLUDED for H.O.H . HIGHLY RECOMMENDED .
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