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(aka 'Confidential Squad')

Directed by George Sherman
USA
1950

 

Drug pushing and gambling set the stage for murder in The Sleeping City, a hardboiled film noir thriller shot on the streets of New York. When a doctor is shot dead outside Bellevue Hospital, detective Fred Rowen (Richard Conte) is assigned to find the killer. Posing as an intern, Rowen is befriended by the hospital’s elevator operator (Richard Taber) and a ward nurse (Coleen Gray) he begins to date. As his investigation continues and potential witnesses wind up dead, Rowen finds himself next on the murderer’s list when he uncovers a narcotics ring. Suddenly, everyone is a suspect and he doesn’t know whom he can trust!.

***

In this affair, Mr. Conte does a thoroughly commendable job with the role and the situations that Jo Eisinger has written for him. He makes the ingenious detective a remarkably sympathetic chap whose feeling for tired, impoverished interns is quite as sensitive as his quick deductive powers. Coleen Gray also acts very crisply as a beauteous but baleful nurse, and a new man from Broadway, Richard Taber, is sharp as an elevator man. Alex Nicol, as a worn and frightened interne, and John Alexander as a stern detective chief, round out a cast which is sprinkled with good performers doing incidental bits.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

***

This gritty undercover cop mystery has all the best elements of the B movies from its era, plays them straight, and combines them with an enticing story, which elevates the style above the calibre of movies it's usually associated with. As such, the film comes across more nostalgic than dated. I was quickly drawn into this original story, and it held me until the end. The only obvious weak link is the unconvincing romantic subplot between the main character and one of the suspects.

Excerpt from Rinkworks.com located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: September 20th, 1950

Recently Released Essential Noirs

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DVD Review: Universal 'Vault Series' - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:25:48 
Video 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.43 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Bitrate:
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• None

DVD Release Date: November 23rd, 2016

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Chapters: 9

 

 

 

Comments:

The Sleeping City is another, superior and, elusive Essential Noir that hasn't surfaced on digital.... until now! It's a cracker with the perfect noirish pairing of Richard Conte and Coleen Gray! Ohh yeah - there is some romance here too.

The disc is predictably single-layered and has no menus, or extras, and the transfer is interlaced (see combing in bottom capture.) Aside from that it was acceptable with some contrast layering and decent detail. The image was clean (some dirt in the beginning) and consistent with no major artefacts or damage (a few, light, vertical scratches - see below.)

The audio is a factor of the production - but dialogue is easily discernable and the score by Frank Skinner (Canyon Passage, Magnificent Obsession, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, All That Heaven Allows, and The Naked City) is a good one and sounds clear. There is some bona-fide tension exported. There are no subtitles and the media is region FREE.

The Sleeping City is another unjustly forgotten Noir - very atmospheric - filmed on location at Bellevue Hospital, some period-scrumptious art deco, the dingy waterfront... with intrepid undercover Conte seeking and finding corruption in the medical system with suspicions rising with his gal-pal sweetie. It's one of the better 'B'-level entries in the dark cinema cycle. We continue to voice our displeasure at the pricing, made-on-demand status, and lack of any extras. Only Noir addicts (yes, YOU) need apply.  

Gary Tooze

 


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Combing from interlaced transfer
 

 


DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Universal - Region 0 - NTSC
Recently Released Essential Noirs



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