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FRITZ LANG DIRECTING DANA ANDREWS 'WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS'

WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS Year: 1956 Rating: ***1/2

Imagine Orson Welles's Charles Foster Kane inheriting a news outlet instead of a goldmine to buy one, and there you have Vincent Price's not so kind Walter Kyne, who, after his powerful but honest father dies, takes over Kyne Enterprises — with a familiar "K" symbol ala CITIZEN KANE — and sets the employees against each other...

The winner must name a violent serial killer killing single women, making WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS part Film Noir and occasional Horror... 

And it needs more of the latter from perhaps having too much of the first, character-wise: the overcrowded Kyne Corporation office ensemble includes whiskey-drinking career-newsroom chief Thomas Mitchell; sharp/flirtatious wire-service runner George Saunders; beyond flirtatious one-woman-womanizer James Craig; and main star Andrews, surprisingly the least important and/or complicated character as the figure-head newscaster... Although his scenes collaborating with token cop Howard Duff (THE NAKED CITY) makes for worthy 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...

Howard Duff and Dana Andrews

But by the time Dana's Pulitzer Prize winning Edward Mobley goads the comic-book reading "Lipstick Killer" on live television, this potentially taut thriller's has more a HIS GIRL FRIDAY vibe... 

Including overlong conversations with engaged couple Sally Forrest and Andrews or a soapy 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...

Unfortunately, Dana Andrews uses his glib news reporter on cruise-control persona ala the passable ASSIGNMENT PARIS (also featuring George Sanders) when more of Otto Preminger's classic LAURA (with Price) and especially WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS — or this movie's director Fritz Lang's THE BIG HEAT— was needed to evoke a tighter, edgier vibe but there's still some good old fashion fun to be had with all the frantic and frenzied walking and talking and stalking and running around WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS.

Howard Duff and Dana Andrews investigate WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Holding the killer's comic book muse The Strangler in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Howard Duff and Dana Andrews investigate WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with Vincent Price
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS w/ Thomas Mitchell & Sally Forrest
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with the "Kane" style K logo behind him
Dana Andrews in While the City Sleeps SCORE: ***1/2
Howard Duff is the law in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
John Barrymore Jr. (Drew's father) in While the City Sleeps
Rhonda Fleming in While the City Sleeps with Vincent Price
Rhonda Fleming in While the City Sleeps with Vincent Price
Rhonda Fleming in While the City Sleeps
Sally Forrest points the way in While the City Sleeps
Thomas Mitchell, George Sanders and Vincent Prince in While the City Sleeps
Sandra White opens up in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Sandra White opens up in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Cool Film Noir credit font for WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Cool Film Noir credit font for WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Dana Andrews channeling The Third Man in While the City Sleeps
Dana Andrews channeling The Third Man in While the City Sleeps
Dana Andrews as Edward Mobley in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Dana Andrews in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with LAURA co-star Vincent Price
While Dana Andrews's character chases the bad guy his name's on a movie marquee to the left
John Barrymore Jr. watches Dana Andrews on his bedroom TV in While the City Sleeps
The KYNE K is an obvious nod to RKO's Citizen Kane in While The City Sleeps
John Barrymore Jr. watches Dana on television WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Dana Andrews catching up to Thomas "Stagecoach" Mitchell in While the City Sleeps
Rhonda Fleming and Vincent Prince in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Rhonda Fleming and Vincent Prince in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Rhonda Fleming and Vincent Prince in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Rhonda Fleming and Vincent Prince in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Vincent Price credit in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Fritz Lang credit in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Sandra White opens up for WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS with John Barrymore Jr.
John Barrymore Jr. stalking around WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
And as is usual here's the last shot of Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS

Dana Andrews & Howard Duff in Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Dana Andrews & Ida Lupino in Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
John Barrymore Jr. in Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
Dana "You Are A Momma's Boy!" Andrews WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
John Barrymore Jr. in Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS watching Dana Andrews
Thomas Mitchell in WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS watching Sally Forrest
John Barrymore Jr. in Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS
from Fritz Lang's WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS

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