Fritz Lang was a master filmmaker creating many classic and legendary films but near the end of his career Lang was tired of bending to Hollywood’s constraints. He made several excellent film noirs during this period and one of his final American films was this excellent 1956 noir While the City Sleeps.
It seems that there is a serial killer stalking women in the city at night. His calling card is a lipstick written message “Ask Mother”. A dying media mogul has dubbed the killer “The Lipstick Killer” and when he dies his son Vincent Price takes over the company. Not having a clue how to run the company, Price conceives of a contest between three division heads. Whoever can discover the killer’s identity before the cops gets the top job of running the company. Ace reporter Dana Andrews is drawn into the contest and eventually uses his fiancee as bait in order to catch the killer.
This is an excellent thriller, Lang uses all his tricks to convey the story of people trying to one up each other in the name of the news. Everything is gritty and most of the characters are busy trying to screw each other over. It’s not as well praised among Lang’s many films but it’s definitely worth a watch.
One quick note. Sunday Matinee is taking a hiatus for the month of October, it’s that time of year again and 31 Days of Horror is upon us and it’s going to be good one. Sunday Matinee will resume in November.