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While the City Sleeps (1956) 1956 NR CC

(21) IMDb 7/10

Ask Mother' says the message scrawled in lipstick at a murder scene by an unknown serial killer who preys on women. It's a sensational story.

Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming
1 hour, 40 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Thriller
Director Fritz Lang
Starring Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming
Supporting actors George Sanders, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, Sally Forrest, John Drew Barrymore, James Craig, Ida Lupino, Robert Warwick, Mae Marsh, Ralph Peters, Sandra White, Larry J. Blake, Celia Lovsky, Ed Hinton, Pitt Herbert, Vladimir Sokoloff, David Andrews
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2012
Format: DVD
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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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Scott T. Rivers VINE VOICE on October 6, 2010
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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gòmez Pardo Venezuela HALL OF FAME on November 1, 2011
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Smrz on October 4, 2013
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.Read more ›
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