While the City Sleeps is a 1956 film noir directed by Fritz Lang. The newspaper drama, written by Casey Robinson, was based on The Bloody Spur by Charles Einstein. The novel depicts the story of the Lipstick Killer. The film features Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming,George Sanders, Howard Duff, Thomas Mitchell, Vincent Price, John Drew Barrymore (Drew Barrymore‘s father), and Ida Lupino.
A power struggle ensues after the death of media magnate Amos Kyne, whose corporation has been turned over to his sole heir, his foppish son Walter. Rather than run the company himself, Walter decides to let the heads of its three divisions fight it out for control.
Their assignment is to score an exclusive on a serial killer who is terrorizing women in New York. The Kyne organization’s newspaper dubs him “The Lipstick Killer.” If a resourceful someone can identify him even before the police do, Walter Kyne will reward him with the title of executive director.
One of the three, newspaper editor Jon Day Griffith, has an ally in high-profile reporter Edward Mobley, who also does reports on Kyne’s television network. While wire-service chief Mark Loving recruits star writer Mildred Donner to be his eyes and ears, a third contender for the top job, Harry Kritzer, carries on a secret affair with Dorothy, who is Walter Kyne’s wife.
Mobley becomes engaged to Loving’s secretary, Nancy Liggett. As his police friend, Lt. Kaufman, gives him inside information on the murder investigation, Mobley taunts the killer on TV and uses Nancy as bait, hoping to lure the Lipstick Killer into coming after her.
In the end, the lives of both Nancy and Dorothy, who live across the hall from one another, are placed in serious danger at the Lipstick Killer’s hands. And, although one of the three contenders for the executive director’s job wins the contest, another has a surprise in store.