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While the City Sleeps (1956) [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 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 (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003Q66ZA4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,273 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

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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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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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Here we have at the outset a nasty piece of work in the form of a young delivery guy (John Drew Barrynore) in his early twenties with a “thing” about attractive young women. When he commits murder he leaves clues so as to taunt the police; but the press, rather than the police, are at the centre of this farce.

The Kyne News Group, with several media outlets, loses its aged, sick founder, Amos Kyne (Robert Warwick) early on in the film. The son, Walter Klyne (played by Vincent Price, inexperienced in the trade and a little gormless, on the surface at least) takes over and at once sets the cat among the pigeons when he challenges departmental heads to solve the so-called lipstick murders, those perpetrated by Barrynore.

Reporter, Edward Mobley (Dana Andrews), a favourite with the recently deceased Amos Klyne, takes on an amorphous role as a sort of go-between within the trio of rivals Mark Loving (George Sanders), Jon Day Griffith (Thomas Mitchell) and Harry Kritzer (James Craig). Kritzer), a pall of Walter Klyne’s (who is having it off with Klyne’s attractive young wife!) is tipped favourite to win the battle.

Mobbley appears on TV where he provokes the murderer into taking actions that he may not be able to resist, and which may lead to an arrest. Things do not go quite according to plan . . . !

The police hold the caretaker as suspect in the flats of one of the victims appearing early on in the film. Since this person knew of the drug store delivery man, who appeared on the scene at the time, one has to question why the police had not followed this up in their enquires?

A talented cast that includes Howard Duff as a police officer, with substantial contributions from Rhonda Fleming and Ida Lupino.
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