While the City Sleeps 1955

While the City Sleeps

Critics Consensus

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89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 19

67%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 892

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Movie Info

A serial killer is on the loose in New York City. Dubbed "The Lipstick Killer," he has also strangely become the center of a power struggle between three division chiefs in a media empire. The directive from their inexperienced boss, Walter Kyne (Vincent Price), is simple: Whoever catches the killer gets promoted to executive editor. But newspaper editor John Day Griffith (Thomas Mitchell) has one distinct advantage in the form of crack reporter Edward Mobley (Dana Andrews).

Cast & Crew

Dana Andrews
Edward Mobley
Ida Lupino
Mildred Donner
Rhonda Fleming
Dorothy Kyne
Sally Forrest
Nancy Liggett
Thomas Mitchell
Jon Day Griffith
Vincent Price
Walter Kyne
Howard Duff
Lt. Burt Kaufman
Vladimir Sokoloff
George "Pop" Pilski
Charles Einstein
Writer (Novel)
Josep Mullendore
Original Music
Ernest Laszlo
Cinematographer
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Critic Reviews for While the City Sleeps

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (2)

  • The story is a cynical twist on Lang's famous M.

    October 15, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Although you could run a horse and carriage through the plot, the dialogue isn't bad.

    October 15, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Plot intricacies are deftly interwoven, with director Fritz Lang doing a topflight job of balancing the ingredients without dragging the pace.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • While this journalistic jamboree is more flamboyant than probable, a tight and sophisticated script by Casey Robinson and a clutch of professional performances make While the City Sleeps a diverting and workmanlike fiction.

    March 25, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Lang's most underrated movie.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

    Steve Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The result is very interesting with the argument of the very cynical way in which hierarchy and influences in the political world of journalism are handled. It's a good film noir from Lang. [Full review in Spanish]

    July 15, 2020 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for While the City Sleeps

  • Nov 21, 2014
    Makes a fantastic companion piece to Lumet's Network
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2011
    A pretty decent film noir from Fritz Lang. While not nearly as massive a film as say M or Metropolis, this is still a very well done film, even if it isn't perfect. This is part murder mystery and part a movie about the newspaper buisiness and to be honest I kinda would have prefered if they had chosen one or the other to focus on, preferably the murder mystery as I found that to be the most interesting aspect of this. The love story on the side I could have done without altogether. Vincent Price is in this as the useless son, who has inhearited this newspaper comapny from his recently deceased father, without having any clue of how to actually run a newspaper company. He's good in his role. I also liked the kid who played 'the Lipstick Killer'. All in all a good film, that has some minor flaws but is worth watching for fans of Fritz Lang or Film Noir in general.
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 24, 2010
    In "While the City Sleeps," Edward Mobley(Dana Andrews) is left with the tough job of having to announce the death of Amos Kyne(Robert Warwick), the owner of Kyne Media and his boss, on his nightly newscast. That leaves the company in the less than capable hands of Amos' playboy son Walter(Vincent Price) who does not inspire his new employees. At least, he realizes his shortcomings by announcing the new position of Executive Director which he makes a contest between Mark Loving(George Sanders), John Day Griffith(Thomas Mitchell) and Harry Kritzer(James Craig). So, the spoils go to whoever reveals the identity of the lipstick killer(John Barrymore Jr.). "While the City Sleeps" is an entertaining movie performed with aplomb by a marvelous cast(not forgetting Ida Lupino and who could?) that owes more than a little debt to King Lear in its division of a kingdom.(And a character also references Macbeth.) And director Fritz Lang is certainly in his element here, again exploring civic responsibility with newspapers and related media in a free society that cannot properly function if they work entirely out of self-interest, as depicted here. As Amos puts it, a newspaper allows the citizens to make up their own mind while at the same time he puts the lipstick killer on the front page to scare everybody. Even though there is a killer on the loose, that's no reason to panic. And it is certainly no reason to take a cheap shot at comic books even in the wake of organized hysteria.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2007
    While the City Sleeps is a decent Fritz Lang movie that for the most part manages to blend a murder mystery with a movie about the newspaper business. Vincent Price does well enough as the vacuous and generally clueless inheritor of a newspaper that chums the waters with a promotion between the 3 main horses in the running. The romantic storyline between Dana Andrews and Sally Forrest got a little annoying and overall, the cast was pretty good even if George Sanders and Ida Lupino were grossly underused. Regardless, Lang pulled it together at the end even if it did fall out of orbit for most of the 3rd act.
    Michael G Super Reviewer

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