Thursday, January 29, 2009

While the City Sleeps

While the City Sleeps (Fritz Lang, 1956) - B-

As noir it's convoluted and all over the place; as a treatise on the downfall of good old-fashioned public-interest newspaper reporting in favor of profit-seeking, frenzied competition, and (most heretically) other news formats it's as best charmingly quaint. Would have been stronger if it were more credible; I just didn't buy that Andrews would set his fiance up as bait without even telling her, for example, or how the villain is ultimately caught; and John Barrymore Jr. is simply ridiculous as the serial killer. All of this is, however, very entertaining and at times hilarious, revealing a droll, deadpan sense of humor I didn't know Fritz Lang possessed; look out for a wonderfully unctuous performance by Vincent Price as an unscrupulous newspaper heir.

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