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- Published on Amazon.com
"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!!