Saturday, February 05, 2011

While The City Sleeps. 1956

 Last week I went to the Film Forum to see two Fritz Lang movies that I had never seen before. I won two tickets for answering a trivia question, and I’m thankful that I didn’t pay good money to see these quivering little mistakes. I can’t begin to say how bad this Fritz Lang movie is. Made on a shoe string and looking it, Lang did this for the ailing RKO studios without any personal convictions that I could see. This is the kind of film that Sam Fuller should have done, Fuller could have sunk his teeth into this lurid story that Lang made  boring and turgid. The film begins very promising with a nicely done murder sequence but it goes downhill after that. Instead of focusing on the far more interesting serial killer, Lang puts everything on the newspaper angle and places most of the action and attention here. The actors are a mixed bag, some has-beens and some about to be has-beens with only Ida Lupino breathing some life into  this terrible movie. Ida plays a sort of gossip columnist on the newspaper who smokes and drinks a lot, and looks great in her 1950’s getups and minks. She slinks and purrs through out the film and the movie is sort of fun when she’s around. The rest of the cast includes Dana Andrews who looks drunk even in the scenes (which are few) that he’s not drinking, James Craig who looks bloated and hung over and like Andrews was also a big drinker in real life and George Sanders who is not amusing in a role that should have been. Also around is Vincent Price, Rhoda Fleming, Thomas Mitchell John Barrymore Jr. and Sally Forrest who are all awful in degrees of awfulness. There are a few exterior’s of the newpaper office that has some expression to them, they look like matt shots, but all the interiors are bland and cheap looking. There are no details to the sets that give any indication that real people live and work here. The cinematography is ok but Lang shoots in very static setups and only the flawed “subway chase scene” at the end has some voom and movement, which is too late to do this piece of garbage any good. One of the ten worst films of 1956 and maybe the worst film of the decade.  


Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Meter