Written by / 9/18/2019 / No comments / , , , , , , , , ,

DANA ANDREWS LEADS THE NOIR THRILLER 'WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS'

Dana Andrews in While the City Sleeps YEAR: 1956
Imagine Orson Welles's Charles Foster Kane inheriting a news outlet as opposed to inheriting a goldmine to buy one, and there you have Vincent Price's not so kind Walter Kyne, who, after his father's death, takes over Kyne Enterprises — with a familiar "K" symbol ala CITIZEN KANE — and sets the employees against each other...

The goal is to find out who's the psychopath slaying women and writing messages with their lipstick: making WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS both a Film Noir and occasional horror, and it needs more of the latter from having too much of the first, with an over-abundance of characters including whiskey-drinking career-newsman Thomas Mitchell; sharp and flirtatious George Saunders; and the main star Andrews, surprisingly the least important and/or complicated character as the figure-head newscaster...

Howard Duff and Dana Andrews in While the City Sleeps
Although his scenes collaborating with token cop in NAKED CITY suspect Howard Duff makes for the B&W crime scene Noir elements while a young, gnarly-looking John Barrymore Jr. takes the villain role albeit lacking motivation save the usual mommy issues: and even that's not really clarified...

But by the time Dana's Pulitzer Prize winning Edward Mobley goads this comic-book reading "Lipstick Killer" on live TV, this potentially taut thriller's had more a HIS GIRL FRIDAY vibe — overlong conversations with Sally Forrest and Andrews or a melodramatic sidebar between Price and cheating trophy wife Rhonda Fleming. The best scenes are tethered to the psychopath or the newsmen on his trail and/or whenever he's mentioned or anticipated by both the characters and the audience...

Dana Andrews in While the City Sleeps SCORE: ***1/2
Unfortunately, Dana Andrews comfortably uses his smug, breezy, and cocky persona from Otto Preminger's DAISY KENYON (as a cocky cuckold) when more of Preminger's LAURA (co-starring Vincent Price) and especially WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS — or even this movie's director Fritz Lang's classic THE BIG HEAT— type of prowess was needed to fit more into the edgy Film Noir catalog...

Then again, after several recommended viewings, when you finally settle into the core of what this is rather than what it's not, or often tries hard to be, there's some good old fashion fun to be had with all the frantic walking and talking and stalking and running around WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS. 
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with LAURA co-star Vincent Price
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with Vincent Price
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with Ida Lupino
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS w/ Thomas Mitchell & Sally Forrest
John Barrymore Jr. watching Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with the "Kane" style K logo behind him
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