John Auer directed and Steve Fisher wrote this police procedural film in the vein of the popular Detective Story of two years earlier. The film juggles around four characters through a particularly bad night in a Chicago precinct -- Johnny Kelly (Gig Young), a stressed out cop ready to crack; Sally "Angel Face" Connors (Mala Powers), a cheap strumpet lounge singer; Hayes Stewart (William Talman), a former magician and present thug; Penrod Biddel (Edward Arnold), a smooth and corrupt district attorney; and Sgt. Joe (Chill ...
John Auer directed and Steve Fisher wrote this police procedural film in the vein of the popular Detective Story of two years earlier. The film juggles around four characters through a particularly bad night in a Chicago precinct -- Johnny Kelly (Gig Young), a stressed out cop ready to crack; Sally "Angel Face" Connors (Mala Powers), a cheap strumpet lounge singer; Hayes Stewart (William Talman), a former magician and present thug; Penrod Biddel (Edward Arnold), a smooth and corrupt district attorney; and Sgt. Joe (Chill Wills), an Everyman character, known as "The Voice of Chicago." The skimpy plot concerns Kelly, who is having an affair with Angel Face and is ready to quit his job and leave his wife Kathy (Paula Raymond) at the drop of a hat. In order to get quick money to escape Chicago and start life anew with Angel Face, Kelly accepts an assignment and a payment from Biddel to escort low-life Stewart across the state line. Paul Brenner, Rovi
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Chill Wills, Edward Arnold, William Talman, Marie Windsor, Mala Powers, Gig Young. New. 1953 Run time: 91. Buy with confidence-Satisfaction Guaranteed! Delivery Confirmation included for all orders in the US.
This 1953 low budget film noir has a message for our day in its portrayal of a broad, diverse American city with its many difficulties and with the opportunities it provides for life and redemption. The film shows the possibility of individual change and growth and also offers a positive portrayal of the police in their frequently thankless and dangerous work. The film offers a vision of American urban life and its potential that I find valuable for our troubled time.
"City the Never Sleeps" was directed by John Auer for the independent studio, Republic Pictures. The strongest immediate attraction of the film is its portrayal of Chicago at night through the eyes of the police with its crimes, tawdry nightlife, large buildings, elevated railways, and side streets. The film is told in a voice over by the City of Chicago which celebrates the city as a diverse melting pot whose millions of people each have their own story. The city also seems to be incarnated as a character in the story. The tangled plot features a young police officer, Johnny, who is dissatisfied with his job and his marriage and is about to run off with a similarly frustrated showgirl. He experiences a transformation of what begins as his last night on the police force with a mysterious stranger as a partner. As Johnny and his partner ride their beat, they see Chicago's underside and become involved in a criminal venture as tangled as Johnny's own feelings and that comes to involve Johnny's policeman father and his younger brother.
A major character in this film is a garish "mechanical man" Gregg Warren, a former actor down on his luck. He is reduced to working in a window making stilted motions beckoning patrons into a nightclub. The mechanical man becomes a symbol in this film, trading on his his dehumanizing character in the window and the shift to the ambitious, feeling human being underneath. So too, the city has possibilities for redemption, for itself and for its people.
I first saw this film in 2019 at a noir festival introduced by the "Czar of Noir", Eddie Muller. Muller has written extensively about "City that never Sleeps" and it is included in his own list of the 25 best film noirs. I recently took the opportunity to watch the movie again. With its cluttered story line, the film will reward multiple viewings. The film offers a gritty look at Chicago as a prototypical noir city. It also manages to be provocative and inspiring in offering the opportunity to reflect on the potential of American life.