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While the City Sleeps [Import]

DVD

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Product Details

  • Format: Original recording remastered, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Warner Archives
  • Release Date: May 13 2011
  • ASIN: B004VA0R7Q

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated Lang Oct. 6 2010
By Scott T. Rivers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Fritz Lang's next-to-last Hollywood endeavor was this cynical newspaper melodrama highlighted by a fine ensemble cast. "While the City Sleeps" (1956) does not rank among the legendary director's masterpieces, yet he handles the multiple storylines with atmospheric verve. Intriguingly enough, Lang's attention remains focused on the modern media environment rather than the "Lipstick Killer" subplot. Released toward the end of the noir cycle, "While the City Sleeps" rises above its B-movie budget and deserves to be seen more than once.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I wonder what the nice people are doing tonight?" Sept. 4 2012
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on Amazon.com
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. Although Lang's direction keeps its grip, visually it's fairly straightforward: he might be returning to vaguely similar ground as M with another disturbed killer, but he rarely manages to hide the fact that he's working on fairly flatly lit standing sets that don't offer much chance for mood or expression. But, if you can overlook the terrifying sight of Price in shorts and socks, there's still much to admire, from the freely flowing vitriol to its depiction of a cutthroat multimedia empire encompassing wire, print and television, not to mention a surprisingly tense sequence of trying to keep a scoop secret not from other papers but from the staff of their own. It's also interesting to note the way it inadvertently set the tone for many giallos that would follow, not least with its culpable flawed hero and the black-gloved sexually motivated killer who is almost his mirror image. The final scene unfortunately wraps things up a tad too happily, displaying an unconvincing display of morality and just desserts at odds with the rest of the film, but while it's not a great film, While the City Sleeps still manages to be a very good one.

Exposure's PAL DVD offers a surprisingly good transfer in Lang's intended fullframe rather than the faux `SuperScope' ratio that masked off the top and bottom of the image used on its US theatrical release (the film was released in that cropped 2:1 ratio in the US). Where the US DVD-R is a little too bright and soft in places, Exposure's release is better graded and thankfully not a worn public domain print - focus and detail are strong and there's only a minimal amount of damage to the master. Extras on the UK DVD are a rather ropey looking theatrical trailer that looks like it was downloaded from a faulty internet connection and good press book, stills and poster art galleries that are annoyingly `locked' so you have to sit through several long slide shows without being able to fast forward if you're looking for a particular image, though there are some shots from deleted scenes implying Barrymore had a much larger role before the final edit.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must See for Lang Fans June 5 2011
By Mr. Grim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
An all star cast is effortlessly handled by Lang who shows a very modern view of cut-throat office life. A joy to watch and very up to date. It would play well in any theater today.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A multifaceted drama! Nov. 1 2011
By Hiram Gomez Pardo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
When a series of brutal sex murders plague the city that never sleeps, a bloody power struggle takes place inside of one of the most most prestigious newspapers in the city.

The legacy of Walter Kyne (the letter K is closely uppercase great resemblance to Charles Foster Kane, is not it?) Has passed to his son, a dilettante, superficial and banal human being, three names emerged as possible candidates: Griffith the city editor, Mark Loving the wire service editor and Harry Kritzer.

Of course we have the renegade in action at only one of them who "has no appetite for power," the last words to exchange with Kyne father before he died. Edward Mobley (Dana Andrews) The antihero of the plot is a friendly and efficient reporter who likes to drink openly in love with a coworker Nancy is fiercely determined only find the truth at any cost.

The search of the serial murderer is nothing but a cover to go into the insatiable, frenzied struggle to gain the favor of the new tycoon.

This film is far from being the most outstanding film of Fritz Lang but it is a brilliant satire - which would precede to The Sweet Smell of Success two years later.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Catch Me Before I Kill Again"! Oct. 4 2013
By Smrz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"While The City Sleeps" is a late period film noir directed by Fritz Lang with a large roster of well known actors that displays how Lang's style had become very refined by the time of this film. Unlike many film noirs previously done, this one has quite the pedigree of actors that include Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Howard Duff, Vincent Price, Thomas Mitchell, Ida Lupino, James Craig, Sally Forest, and John Barrymore, Jr. Barrymore, is the son of the great actor John, as well as the father of Drew Barrymore. He plays the "lipstick killer" who is responsible for a series of brutal murders of women within New York City. The film is a multifaceted drama, in which two equally interesting threads-the lipstick killings and the competition for the New York Sentinel's editorship-are very well woven together. This is because Walter Kyne, Jr., played by Vincent Price, announces a competition among his staff which rewards the one who unmasks the will be named the paper's new editor-in chief. The well-seasoned cast do an excellent job, especially Dana Andrews, who plays prize-winning reporter turned television commentator Edward Mobley, and Thomas Mitchell, who plays fellow reporter and competitor, John Day Griffith. Both Ida Lupino and George Sanders are also excellent. The film's tone is very cynical, as would be expected in the world of film noir. There is an unusual reversal, in which the killer, who is portrayed as a "momma's boy", can actually be seen as more sympathetic than the newspaper's staff, who will do anything to get ahead and capture the prize offered. Actually, the fact that three men in the film would willingly use their girlfriends as "bait" to capture the killer, certainly does not speak well of their own fundamental humanity. Lang displays how an effective film noir can be created without a great deal of stylistic traits, specifically mood lighting or odd camera angles which are usually connected with film noir. Director Lang remains subtly expressionistic in his use of décor. I have always found the film to be a bit too "talky", but within the milieu of the newspaper's setting, the flow is quote natural. Yes, it is a stylistically understated noir, but the wheeling, dealing, and back-stabbing of the competing media players give it an effectively cynical tone, which fits right in with the noir features. The re-mastered dvd print is excellent, and the film is presented in widescreen, 16x9, 2:1 ratio. The running time is 99 minutes. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! SMRZ!!
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