Friedlob and Lang's Tabloid Thrillers --- Part Two
While The City Sleeps got no chance to build momentum, let alone gain sleeper status, which under better distribution circumstance, might have come. Key openings were spread way apart ---
Gotham's two-week stand followed seven weeks of The Conqueror at the Criterion, receipts for While The City Sleeps called "fair" by Variety. At $16,000 for its opening frame, Friedlob and Lang's thriller at least beat up-the-street The Killing's initial week by $4,000, which illustrates how pics we now celebrate barely eked out house nuts on first-run, even in largest bergs where you'd figure savvy viewers were aplenty to support them.
LA saw "dull" receipts for While The City Sleeps upon August arrival and two weeks play with RKO-reissued Flying Leathernecks. Whatever interest magazine ads generated may well have dissipated by this late booking. Certainly that was true of
Maybe the trouble for both While The City Sleeps and Beyond A Reasonable Doubt was a distributor on last legs and patronage done with commonplace product. Movies by 1956 had to be special to pull customers away from television. Youth might support hot rod and monster fests, but adults, to whom Friedlob and Lang aspired, wouldn't pay babysitting and car park fees to watch stuff barely distinguishable from freebies at home. While The City Sleeps had a good concept, maybe even ahead of its time, but all the cast, save Dana Andrews, had done TV --- Ida Lupino was more associated with that medium than with movies by Spring '56 when Sleeps sought admissions to watch her emote. Failure to sync up expensive national advertising with key playdates for the film were ruinous as well, but this was symptomatic of an industry having lost that essential wheel of theatres owned by and standing ready to play off merchandise when and where distribs dictated. A show like While The City Sleeps had to do without smooth machinery that would have pushed it through ten years earlier, but was too broken down now to be of much help.
|A Limping RKO Tenders It's Product for 1956's Autumn Season|
|RKO Hoped The Stripper Lure Would Cinch|
Patrons for Beyond A Reasonable Doubt
|Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Goes New York's|
Second-Run Saturation Route as a Support Feature